May 3, 1994                 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS               Vol. XLII  No. 35


The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Dicks): Order, please!

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have some questions for the Premier today on one of his favourite topics, the Hydro issue.

It is now six weeks to the day that the Premier pledged, on Province-wide television, he would withdraw the Hydro Privatization Bill if the majority of the people opposed the sale.

Just to refresh his memory, let me quote what he said. I notice him all upset over there, but here is what he said: If the majority of the people of this Province end up being opposed to Hydro, I would not ask the members of the Legislature to proceed with legislation privatizing Hydro, because I don't think any government, no matter how strongly it feels about the issue, should use its majority in the Legislature to cause something to be done that is contrary to the wishes of the people.

Mr. Speaker, surely the Premier knows by now that a massive majority of the people of this Province adamantly oppose the sale of Hydro, for whatever their reasons, so I want to ask him today: Does he intend to be true to his word? Will he keep his pledge? Will he withdraw the Hydro bill?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: No, Mr. Speaker, the government has no intention of withdrawing the Hydro bill. The future of this Province is very much dependent upon the government implementing its overall economic policy. Privatization is one significant aspect of this, and the government intends to proceed with the completion of the Electrical Power Control Act which, by the way, has had a fair amount of debate now, as I understand it, in the House, and we will continue to implement our full economic policy, including privatization of all commercial type activities that the government is carrying on, that can be carried on by the public sector, and in respect of which there is no compelling public policy reason to do otherwise.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

That is certainly contrary to what the Premier said publicly. I just quoted for him what he said publicly. Now he is going against his word again. I would say that he is probably the only person in the Province who can't bring himself to acknowledge the fact that far, far more than a simple majority of the people are opposed to Hydro, and the more the Premier explains it, the more the people are opposed. His ministers know it, his backbenchers know it, and certainly the people of this Province know it. There have been two polls done scientifically, professionally done, credible polls with no trick questions that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the people's opposition.

I want to ask the Premier, in all sincerity: Doesn't he understand that this has now become an issue of credibility and public trust with his government? Doesn't he understand that his intent now to break his pledge, in fact, the people of this Province will never trust him again, or his government again?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I am prepared to answer to the Province politically for anything I do, any action this government takes. I am quite prepared to answer to the Province politically for that, and will do so in the future.

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, the problem with that kind of attitude and that kind of approach is that it will be too late. Hydro will be gone. That is the problem with that approach.

The people of this Province have heard everything that you've had to say, I say to the Premier, in defence of privatization. They've heard what his ministers have had to say as they've gone around, they've read your brochures, they've heard your ads, they've read the newspaper ads, they've heard and seen you on Province-wide t.v., they've heard you on open lines, they've telephoned your 1-800 numbers, they've even seen you on a province-wide debate. They've heard your case for privatization.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is there a question (inaudible)?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is a question. I'm merely pointing out to the Premier that the problem is his arguments are not convincing. You are spending millions of dollars and other issues are being buried because of your obsession with Hydro. You are wasting your own credibility and that of your government. I'm asking you, not in a partisan way - I'm concerned about the Province, and the concern that I have is shared by many people in this Province because of the loss of interest in other issues.

I'm asking him: Will he reconsider this position that he has now taken which is contrary to the commitment that he made and the pledge that he made on Province-wide t.v.? Won't he act quickly and withdraw this bill?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the answer remains exactly the same as it was before. It doesn't matter how many ways he asks the question. The government is committed to proceeding with the Electrical Power Control Act and proceeding with its full policy on privatization, including Hydro, and we intend to do that. In the process we will inform the people of this Province of the web of falsehoods and utterly falsely based emotional statements put forward, largely by the Leader of the Opposition, for which he has to bear a great deal of responsibility in terms of misleading the public of this Province -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) lies (inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: - as to the consequences of the proposed Hydro approach. We intend to continue.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

I heard an hon. member, and I'm not sure to whom I can attribute it, using the word "lie." It is clearly unparliamentary. If a member is using it I would ask him to desist. Otherwise I would have to bring him to order.

Supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. The Premier has the gall in the public Chamber to accuse me of misleading the people on Hydro? He is the one who went on Province-wide t.v. and confessed to everybody that he misled the people of the Province!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SIMMS: What I wanted to ask him is: His stated position here today is that he is going to proceed come hell or high water. I want to know how he can square that with his commitment and his pledge that I quoted earlier in the day: If the majority of the people are opposed I won't ask the members of the House to proceed. How does he square that with his commitment to the people of the Province back in March, or whenever it was?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition puts forward his interpretation of a statement, and his interpretation is, like most other things he said, utterly false, totally incorrect, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, at no time did I admit that I misled the House. I admitted one thing, and I will do it again, so that the hon. Leader of the Opposition can never again falsely represent what I stated in that respect. What I said was, I asked members on this side of the House not to raise the issue of its application to Churchill Falls so as to avoid the kind of unfounded, emotional arguments that the Leader of the Opposition promptly made. As soon as he became aware of any aspect of it he made those kinds of statement.

Mr. Speaker, that was the reason for it. There was good and sound logical reasons for the approach. I did not mislead this House. I did not mislead anybody and I have no intention of doing so.

MR. SIMMS: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, that wasn't what I asked the Premier. I asked him, how is he going to answer the people now for misleading them once again on Province-wide television when he told them that in fact he would not ask the members of the House to proceed with Hydo privatization if the majority of the people were opposed to it? Isn't that misleading the people again?

AN HON. MEMBER: Lying to the people.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I stated very clearly that the government has a responsibility to maintain and -

AN HON. MEMBER: Lying.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, are we going to continue to have these kinds of improper statements?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I mentioned to the House on a previous occasion that certain language is clearly unparliamentary and if I hear it again I will have to bring the particular member to order.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I stated very clearly that government has a responsibility to maintain an acceptable level of public support for anything that it brings to the House. Now, in respect to the Hydro proposal, largely due to the efforts of the Leader of the Opposition and others, the people of this Province have been really misled as to the impact of Hydro. He stood in the House and put forward totally incorrect propositions as to the impact, and went throughout the Province and did it.

Mr. Speaker, the government has a responsibility to correct that and we intend to do just that, and correct those totally incorrect statements upon which these judgements have been based. Mr. Speaker, we have confidence that when we are finished with it the people of this Province will recognize the absolute necessity of the government continuing with its overall economic and financial policies including the privatization of Hydro and we intend to continue with the policies, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

In other words, the policy is, you're going to continue to mislead the people of the Province. That's what your policy is, Mr. Speaker. Accuse me of misleading people? Let me ask him a final question, Mr. Speaker. It has been now five weeks since this particular bill has been called in this House for debate. When will the government be calling Bill 1 for further debate? Can he tell the House that, answer that question?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: As soon as the progress of government orders and works justify it. It might be tomorrow if we've passed and dealt with Bill 2 which is presently being debated or it might be a few days later. If, in the meantime, the House Leader decides we want to do budgetary matters first or there's some other compelling matter, we'll call it in due course and the government will decide its order of business when it is ready to proceed.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: I have a question for the Minister of Environment and Lands. At the committee hearings on the Budget Estimates for the Department of Environment and Lands, an official told the committee the department had paid $9,000 to cover the moving expenses of the former minister, Mr. Kelland. Is this part of the compensation benefits for all ministers or was it done at the direction of Cabinet, that is, by an Order in Council?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, there was - I don't know the amount, if the hon. gentleman says $9,000 it probably is around that amount that was paid with respect to a former member of the House of Assembly. This was in line with the guidelines and the provisions for members of the House of Assembly, Cabinet ministers and so on, what happens to them when they become members of Cabinet and when they cease to become members of Cabinet. So, Mr. Speaker, provision is made, for instance, for the paying of moving expenses into St. John's. If a Cabinet minister has to vacate or leave the district to come into St. John's and it provides for relocation expenses at the end of that time, this position was put and fully examined by the Department of Justice and it was discovered that we had that obligation, so it was paid.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to ask the Minister of Finance to table the policy, that directive. Also, I would like to redirect my second question to the Minister of Environment and Lands.

Was Mr. Kelland a special case or were other former ministers paid moving expenses in the 93-94 fiscal year?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker.

I will dig out where this is and table it, but it is already public information; it is already public knowledge and, Mr. Speaker, there was no special case at all. As a matter of fact, it was determined that it was a very normal matter.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for St. John's East Extern.

MR. J. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, did government also pay moving expenses for Mr. Kelland and other ministers when they were appointed to Cabinet? Did they pay moving expenses for Mr. Kelland and other ministers when they were appointed to Cabinet, and, is this a new perk for ministers and a nice bonus when they move in to Cabinet?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker.

It is not a new perk for cabinet ministers. I think the same conditions are there for public servants and so on when they are forced to move from one location to another. It's a normal process in the public service of the Province, and I will be glad to dig up all the information and provide it to all Members of the House if they want, but it is normal in procedure and has been in place for quite some time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

My question is also to the President of Treasury Board.

Last week the minister submitted contract proposals from NAPE and CUPE to Cabinet, and I wonder if he can tell us if Cabinet has made a decision, and is the minister confident that he will be able to avoid a strike by NAPE and CUPE?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister responsible for Treasury Board.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows a lot more than I do about it; I was not at Cabinet when they presented any proposals to Cabinet. There have been no proposals presented to Cabinet.

Mr. Speaker, late last week, NAPE and CUPE responded after three separate meetings, responded to a position we put to them with a counter-proposal, and, Mr. Speaker, we are considering that and I indicated and I think Mr. Curtis indicated publicly, I think that's where the indication came from; Mr. Curtis said publicly that the government will get back to him late this week and we certainly will get back together late this week and, Mr. Speaker, we are still in the process of talking.

MR. SPEAKER: A supplementary, the hon. Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Mr. Speaker, negotiations with NAPE and CUPE got back on the rails after government changed its opening position. Has government made similar proposals with regard to changing its opening position with the nurses collective bargaining process and are talks continuing with the nurses union?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, right at the present time the nurses union is going around the Province and conducting strike votes in all of their locations. They have a certain procedure that they go through, and they are in the process of doing that, so right now we are not in the process of active talks. When they go through that process and come back to us, then we will start talking to them again, as we were talking to them before they went out and did this process.

So there have been revised positions presented to NAPE and CUPE as a result of discussions. There have also been revised positions presented to the nurses' union certainly, and let's hope that there will be further revised positions as we go through the collective bargaining process. That's what the collective bargaining process happens to be all about.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Menihek.

MR. A. SNOW: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Now it is becoming quite apparent, from comments in the press, both by the minister and the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association, the government is holding firm to its opening statements, or opening positions, with regard to the teachers' collective bargaining process, and what the government is attempting to do with their particular agreement.

Why are you being flexible with NAPE and CUPE and the nurses, and yet inflexible with teachers? Are the teachers the new target of opportunity for this year? Have you decided that you won't take a general strike but you would welcome a strike by the teachers of this Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated that revised positions have been tabled as discussions have carried on. Unless the hon. member has been out of the country for the last while, he will realize that the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers Association, number one, has not sat down with us and carried on five minutes of negotiation - number one.

Number two, they have had a vote on a conciliation board report which their nominee signed, and the conciliation board report said, start negotiating, and the teachers' union has rejected that by a 91 per cent vote. In other words, they have decided and voted 91 per cent not to negotiate. Mr. Speaker, revised positions can only be presented through negotiation, and when they are ready to come to the table and negotiate, then we will have give and take.

I have indicated very clearly to the NLTA that government is flexible on all of its opening positions. That is all you can do. You have to then go through a process, and that particular union is refusing to begin the process.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

Is the minister aware of any labour and management problems happening at the Hibernia site? If he is, can he explain to the House what those problems are today?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, the latest information that I have, because we do monitor the Bull Arm site on a regular basis because of the size and magnitude of the workforce and the potential always existing that there might be an occasional disruption, but the parties have committed to handling any disruptions that do arise themselves internally, through their own processes, and have given an undertaking, as part of the special project order, to make sure there will be no work stoppage at the site.

There has been nothing brought to my attention that suggests there is any jeopardy of a work stoppage at the work site, which is the only thing that would cause the government any real concern. In any other instance we would leave it to the parties to resolve any differences that might arise in a day-to-day operational basis.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, my information tells me today that there are 400 to 500 workers, specifically iron workers and carpenters, who are about to be suspended from the Hibernia site, dealing with problems and overtime. Can the minister confirm that 400 to 500 Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and workers, specifically iron workers and carpenters, are about to be suspended for a period of time because of difficulties and problems with the management over overtime?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: No, Mr. Speaker. I understand that there may be a possibility of some disciplinary action occurring with some of the workers at the site, the kinds of things that have happened previously in the earlier two or three years of operation, and it might very well happen again when you have a workforce of some 3,000 people - in excess of that - in one area. In a major project these things arise from time to time. The parties will resolve any differences they have had, and there is no reason, as I understand it, for government to be concerned, for the project manager to be concerned, that the work will continue on, and any appropriate disciplinary action that might be necessary will probably be taken and sorted out between the unions and the employers at the site.

MR. SPEAKER: Final supplementary, the hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations that 25 per cent to 35 per cent of the workforce about to be suspended is a major issue. Let me ask the minister this: Will he confirm today in this House that he will check into the issue, find out what the situation is, find out what the difficulty is, and report back to this House on that situation tomorrow?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we monitor the Bull Arm site because of the size and magnitude of the workforce that is there and the importance of the project to the Province generally. We monitor on a regular basis. There has been nothing brought to my attention that would suggest that I as the minister should be alerting the people of the Province that there is a major problem at Bull Arm, that there is going to be a shutdown or something of that nature that would jeopardize the project. None of that has occurred to my knowledge. If there is anything that did require that kind of alarm I probably would have made a statement in advance of that in the first place to let people know that there might be a problem at Bull Arm.

If there are, as I indicated, instances that require some internal disciplinary matters between members of the workforce and the management and the companies, they have arisen before, they will probably arise again over the next couple of years of the construction phase. Unless there is something that jeopardizes the work at the site and the ongoing completion of the project then the government has taken the position that we are not likely to interfere. They have mechanisms and processes under their own collective agreement to deal with any matters between the unionized workforce at the site and the employers and contractors on the site.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Minister of Fisheries or the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations. I'm not sure which will answer.

There are a number of fishermen in their late fifties or early sixties who did not meet the eligibility requirements to retire under NCARP, the early retirement program. Nevertheless they sold their licenses back to the federal Department of Fisheries. I'm sure ministers are aware. There are two reasons for that. One is because the department wanted to reduce the number of fishing licenses and the number of people in the industry, and two, the fishermen understood that if they gave up their licenses they would continue to get income compensation.

I want to ask the minister: Is he aware that fishermen in that particular category who had received compensation under NCARP for the past two years have now been told that they will be dropped from TAGS program immediately?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To my knowledge with that component of the program under NCARP, where people fifty-five years of age and over exercised retirement options, or others who had made a decision to exercise the option for a license buy-out, part and parcel of the full compensation arrangement involving compensation for the license, any ongoing moratorium payments that they might receive, or their pension, were all rolled into the calculation of the total value and worth of leaving the fishery. That anyone who did that it was in the context of a moratorium which was to end on May 15 this year. That those people have been totally paid off as far as the people in DFO where that program was managed are concerned, and they will not have further eligibility for TAGS. They have exited the fishery; they are out of the fishery. The compensation that they got, which took them up to May 15, along with the amount of money they received in lump sum payments for their licenses, was the agreed to total for those people to leave the fishery.

MR. SPEAKER: Supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to say to the minister, this had nothing to do with retirement. These people gave up their licenses in good faith, expecting to get a basic subsistence income.

I guess the real supplementary for the minister now is: How could the federal Minister of Fisheries, how could the Premier of this Province who stood in his place, and how could the minister stand in his place just a few short days ago, and tell us and everyone else in this Province that anyone receiving benefits under NCARP who were presently receiving benefits, that now the new TAGS program was announced, that they would receive benefits until December 31 1994? How can the minister now answer that, I ask him. How can he square that with what he has already said over the last two weeks? The Premier said it and the federal Minister of Fisheries has said it.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, again, two completely separate issues. Those people who exercised - and I will repeat the answer again. Maybe the hon. Opposition members might understand it a little better if I tried to say it in slightly different words.

Those people who exercised the license buy-out when the moratorium was announced a couple of years ago, the amount of total compensation for both the license and so on, factored into that was the notion that there would be a two year compensation program. There was nobody in the land - Mr. Crosbie and all included, anybody in this Province or anywhere else - that ever understood that there might be a continuation which has now been announced for five years, that the stocks might not rebuild. Every decision that was made with respect to license buy-out under NCARP, every decision that was made, was made to my understanding with the full knowledge of the individuals involved, that part of their full total compensation entitlement would be a lump sum payment for the license plus two years of payments of compensation which would end on May 15, 1994.

That's the only period of time that anyone could tell them, back then when they exercised their individual options, that there would be compensation. There was no guarantee; there was not even a suggestion in the land at that time that there might be continuing compensation beyond the two year moratorium. It was put in place as a two year measure. The person's entitlement, when they opted for license buy-out, was a lump sum payment for the license plus whatever compensation they were entitled to for the life of the NCARP program which ends on May 15.

MR. SPEAKER: A final supplementary, the hon. the Opposition House Leader.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you, very much, Mr. Speaker.

I don't know if the minister realizes how much he's balling himself up here but if such is the case, as the minister has outlined, then no one would receive benefits after May 15. They would all have to reapply and only those who are eligible would get compensation from that point on when they were deemed eligible. So the minister is just balling himself up again.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. W. MATTHEWS: There's no point in you talking about those who chose the early retirement program because they're going to get benefits until they are sixty-five when they get their old age security payments, I say to the minister, but this is a situation here where people - I have a copy of a letter from a gentleman here and there's been over 100 letters sent out now from DFO telling those people who thought they were going to be compensated - the federal minister told them they were going to be compensated until at least December 31, the minister stood in his place and told them the same thing and the Premier, now we find they're not going to be compensated after May 15, not even until the end of December, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation.

So I want to ask the minister - I was going to ask him won't he take up the fight for those people but I think the minister has already caved in. I want to ask him, will you take up the fight for those people to at least get them compensated until December 31, 1994? Could the minister, while he's up, tell us what other surprises the 23,000 people are going to receive over the next number of weeks as all of this starts to filter out from the TAGS program, I say to the minister? Just a few days ago he accused us of fearmongering, at escalating numbers, but I say to the minister you're going to be the one with the egg on your face when this is all over.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Again, maybe I should try some different words again so that they might understand the very clear distinction. The answers given, Mr. Speaker, with respect to continuing to the end of December, for everybody in the program, still stand. All of those that had any prospect that there would be continuing eligibility will be continued until at least the end of the year. This group of people, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member just raised in the question, this group of people to my knowledge, in terms of when they exercised their option for a license buy-out some two years ago, they exercised a voluntary option to buy out. They knew at that time that the deal was the lump sum for the license and two years of payments. That, Mr. Speaker, if there's somebody writing suggesting that they exercised the license buy-out two years ago under NCARP and they thought that if there was going to be another program going on until the year 2050, they might be eligible, then I don't understand how they got that information. Maybe it should have been explained or they should have sought further clarification before they exercised their option two years ago.

So again, I'll say one more time, Mr. Speaker, those people did not have any continuing right. It was a one time deal for a buy-out for that group of people. The price paid was the lump sum for the license plus compensation for the life of NCARP. NCARP ends May 15th. They had no prospect for continuing compensation. Anyone that has a prospect for continuing compensation will be extended to the end of December 1994, while they reapply for eligibility to see how long and how far beyond that they continue to be compensated. Two completely separate issues, Mr. Speaker, not to be confused. There is no confusion and I hope that I helped make it clear for the hon. member's opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. MANNING: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Premier, in the absence of the Premier.

Throughout this Province of ours people have been angered and upset over the comments attributed to Dr. Rosemary Ommer a voicer in the Globe and Mail in relation to a study on the impact of the cod moratorium. She has clearly shown her lack of knowledge of rural Newfoundland and she certainly will not receive the support of people of the rural communities.

Today I ask the Deputy Premier, if he would take it upon himself to contact his colleagues in Ottawa and advise them to withdraw the funding for this study before $1.4 million of taxpayer's money is wasted and rural Newfoundland is insulted once again?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: No, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

On behalf of hon. members, I would like to welcome to the public galleries, the former Member for the district of Fogo, Mr. Sam Winsor -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: - and also, Mr. Fred Best, the Mayor of the Town of Clarenville.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have leave of the House to revert the Ministerial Statements. I have spoken to my friend, the Opposition House Leader, and perhaps my friend, the Member for St. John's East will concur.

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. ROBERTS: Thank you.

Mr. Speaker, on February 8, 1991 in a remote area of Labrador approximately 100 miles north of Goose Bay, a Cessna Caravan aircraft crashed and a young man named Captain Frederick Drosch, the sole occupant of the airplane, lost his life. A judicial inquiry has been held into the death of the young man or into the incident, and I am here today tabling the report of Judge Hyslop of the provincial court, who held the inquiry.

The most likely explanation for the crash, and the death of Captain Drosch which resulted from it, in Judge Hyslop's words were as follows: `that he encountered unexpected bad weather and tried to fly his aircraft legally, by which the Judge meant, under VFR regulations, but descended to a low altitude to retain his course and bearings.

In doing so, it seems likely that the rearward concentration of the load in difficult weather gave him control problems and greatly increased his workload. This may have been complicated by the fact that the vacuum low warning light was on and the seat-belt was not fastened, offering him more distraction. The aircraft entered a stall and spin, and quite literally, the pilot ran out of time and space to counteract it.'

Judge Hyslop concluded that the death of Captain Drosch was due to misadventure. The judge made four recommendations, none of which directly bears upon the government; these have been referred to the agencies concerned and, Mr. Speaker, copies of the report have been provided to the agencies concerned, the Transportation Safety Board, the Labrador Airways, which owned the aircraft, and Captain Drosch's family. I now table copies here for members who may want them and any other person who wants one, will have a copy available by simply getting in touch with me.

Thank you, Sir.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I received a copy of this Judicial Inquiry Report a few minutes ago and I will have a look at it a little later, but while I am on my feet, I would like to ask the minister, and perhaps with leave he could give an answer, as to whether the Premier has made a decision on the petition to have a judicial inquiry into the cause and circumstances surrounding the death of Leette Moores, a young woman from Shea Heights, who died on an operating table in a St. John's hospital during what should have been routine gall bladder surgery?

MR. SPEAKER: Does the hon. minister have leave to address this?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Agreed.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: To my knowledge, no, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has not taken a decision. The House will realize I found myself in a conflict position. I will make enquiries of my Deputy Minister, who I know is working with the Premier as an official on this, and I will either ask one of my colleagues to make a statement or raise the matter with the Premier. If a decision has been taken, I don't know about it and that shouldn't surprise everybody. In the normal course, in this sort of situation, I would learn about it only when a public announcement is made.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Pursuant to Section 33 of the Workers' Compensation Act, I would like to table a report of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal for 1993, and just take a second to commend to all hon. members, maybe the overview on page 1, which shows the increasing level of activity at the Appeals Tribunal. For those who would like to look at the status of cases and the disposition of them, the information is laid out quite clearly in the year-end statistical information in the appendices. I would like also to pass along our thanks to Judge Seabright and the panel members for their diligent effort and also to Miss Marlene Norman and the office staff for working so hard on behalf of the Tribunal.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Answers to questions for which notice has been given.

MS. VERGE: Where are the Western Memorial Hospital reports?

Petitions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Trinity North.

MR. OLDFORD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of 4,231 residents of the district of Trinity North. The prayer of the petition reads:

`WHEREAS accessibility to health care is a right of all Canadians, as defined by the Canada Health Act, 1984; and

WHEREAS the provision of nursing home care at Level II and III care is the responsibility of the Government of Newfoundland; and

WHEREAS the Government of Newfoundland conducted a bed study in 1986 that recommended construction of a fifty-bed nursing home facility to service the Clarenville region from Port Blandford to Winter Brook in the west, and Little Harbour to Chance Cove in the east; and

WHEREAS the facilities required by the Clarenville region have not been constructed, citizens are deprived of access to nursing home facilities consistent with those available to citizens in other areas of the Province; and

WHEREAS the 2,100 elderly citizens of a population of 19,000 are denied local chronic services; and

WHEREAS the placement of the chronically ill and elderly patient in distant facilities far from family and community can be a brutal and inhumane process;

WHEREFORE the undersigned, your petitioners, humbly pray and call upon the House of Assembly to instruct the Minister of Health to take action leading to the construction of a chronic care nursing home facility to address the needs of the people in the Clarenville region, and as in duty bound, your petitioners will ever pray.'

Mr. Speaker, this petition is unlike some of the petitions we have seen here lately. This is not a staged petition. It's a petition that comes from the heart of the people in the district of Trinity North, and this petition brings out the very essence of what government's role should be, and that is to provide a means to look after the less fortunate in our society.

The petitioners are asking government to provide the facilities in the Clarenville area so that seniors who can no longer look after themselves, who can no longer cope with life in an independent manner, will be able to live out their last days with dignity.

The petitioners are reflecting the wishes of seniors who are now being carted off to St. John's or other areas of the Province, away from family and friends, and isolated from the communities they helped to build, and I think that the seniors deserve better.

I fully support the prayer of this petition and, while realizing the fiscal restraints that we live under, being one of the 8,000 petitioners who signed petitions throughout the region, I ask that government provide the funding this year to plan for a modern chronic care facility in the region, and I hope that in the very near future the funding will be provided to make this much needed facility a reality. Chronic care patients and their families in the region demand nothing more, and I think they deserve nothing less.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I rise to support the petition for a chronic care nursing home facility in the Clarenville area, and I have been on record before and I have had several interviews with The Packet in the area, and carried here in The Evening Telegram, and have voiced concerns in the Clarenville area that it was high on the priority list a few years ago, and has been overlooked, and other areas that were lower on the list have been approved.

The Nycum study showed that there is a higher incidence of elderly people in the Clarenville area by far than anywhere else in this Province. There are people in the hospital there who have no place to go. They are being kept in the hospital on a long-term basis. The people in the Clarenville area have their relatives being sent to St. John's, and out in Carbonear, Placentia and all over Newfoundland. They have loved ones and people close being sent, the highest incidence rate of anywhere in this entire Province. It has been identified before. There has been a push for it. This government seems to ignore the request here.

Wouldn't it be more logical to put a facility in an area where there is a higher number of people in that category? Wouldn't it be more cost-efficient, closer to their loved ones where they can go visit on a more regular basis? I think it's about time. It was promised. It was high on a priority list. They have carried out the same types of promises they gave down in Harbour Breton, that in 1989 they promised, and for every year since.

Anybody who read The Evening Telegram this weekend, they focused once again on Harbour Breton, the dilapidated state of the hospital there, with the roof leaking, a forty-eight year old institution there, and it is pathetic that government hasn't seen and given priority to catering to the needs in high priority areas of this Province. It is about time they established to satisfy needs in areas of greatest priority. The people in the area deserve that, and they should get the utmost attention from the department.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate very much the concerns of the people in the Clarenville area.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I am having trouble hearing the hon. minister.

DR. KITCHEN: I point out to my hon. friend opposite that the Nycum study was done in 1986 when guess who was in power? They commissioned the study and they did not implement it.

Now, let me indicate a few points. We have many requests for nursing homes and nursing home enhancements in this Province. We referred to the hon. member who represents Harbour Breton who recently wants his hospital rebuild and it would also include a chronic care section. We have sufficient chronic care beds in the Province now, according to our figures. This is what they tell me. The problem is that many of the chronic care beds are not of the appropriate level of care because many nursing homes were built to take in lower levels of care, and some of the spaces are occupied by people who really are Level 1s and so on. What we are trying to do is to refurbish quite a number of long-term care homes.

For example there is North Haven Manor in Lewisporte which must be redesigned. We are presently working on Bonavista. The Bonavista nursing home is being expanded so that it can take in ten or twelve more beds. We are remodelling a wing that had been closed. We have a long-term care facility in St. Lawrence which is not fully opened.

Now, the new board that we have announced that will be established to take into account Bonavista, Clarenville, and the Burin Peninsula will then have twenty-odd more nursing home beds, and the question is, should we also build in the Clarenville area?

We have had requests to refurbish the interfaith home in Corner Brook. We have had requests to refurbish the home in Grand Falls. We have had requests to refurbish the long-term care home in Port de Grave, because there again there are basically a lot of Level 1 people. In Gander, Lakeside Homes needs to be redeveloped so they can take long-term care. We have a long list of areas which need things done in long-term care, but that is only part of the situation. We are also refurbishing the long-term care facilities in St. Anthony, where right now we have a very unsatisfactory building, and we are going to do things with the Curtis Hospital so that they can take into account more long-term care.

We have a lot of things going in the long-term care section, but one thing we must be very careful about is not to build in obsolete models of care. One of the problems we have had is we have been overbuilding in hospitals. In Grand Falls, for example, we have a building that is far too large for what we need in modern day health care. We have to stop thinking in terms that a building will provide the care.

What we are doing now is setting up as well regional community health care boards, and their major responsibility is to increase the amount of home care that is going on. I am hoping very shortly now to be able to announce for the eastern region the members of that eastern region health care board, and one of their responsibilities will be to make sure that there will be an adequate level of home care throughout the whole eastern region. Right now it is very spotty in that whole eastern region.

As a result of the lack of home care there is more pressure to get people into institutions. Our priority in this government is to refurbish the institutions that we presently have -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has expired.

DR. KITCHEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I will finish it later - there is another one, I think.

MR. SPEAKER: Is there a further petition to be presented?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: We've heard three speakers on that petition. Does the hon. Member for Bellevue have a new petition or the -

MR. BARRETT: A new petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: New petition, Mr. Speaker. The Member for Bellevue has a petition, does he? Oh, fine, lots of time. You can come after me, if you don't mind.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) -

MR. SPEAKER: Yes.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I think I had recognized the hon. the Leader of the Opposition at that point. If he wishes to cede to -

MR. ROBERTS: If my friend would grant leave for a second?

MR. SIMMS: Don't take it out of my time.

MR. ROBERTS: No, I won't....

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: I understand there are people here from Clarenville to hear the petition presented so perhaps after my friend finishes his petition then we will hear this one and that may do it for today.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, just to that point of order. If that is - I stood on a point of order, I guess. Just to that point of order. We have absolutely no problem with members in this Legislature who are duly elected by the people to present petitions on behalf of the people, and they shouldn't be stymied by the Government House Leader. There should not be a limit of two or three or four or whatever.

We certainly look forward to hearing the Member for Bellevue and we have the Member for Grand Bank who has an education petition. Hopefully the Government House Leader will be as cooperative in letting the Member for Grand Bank present his petition. I'm sure he will.

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: No problem. Okay, good.

Mr. Speaker, I have the

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SIMMS: No leadership review here, brother. The leadership review, do you know where the leadership review is, Mr. Speaker? It is over there on that side of the House.

I have the privilege of presenting three petitions on behalf of a total of 251 residents of Port Saunders, Hawke's Bay, Port au Choix, up in the district of the hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, I believe it is. Hawke's Bay and those areas. St. Barbe District.

These are petitions that I received when the House was closed dealing with the denominational education issue. The letters that were sent to me with all the signatures clearly were meant to be a petition, but in case somebody tries to object and say they are not in the correct form, the proper words, let me just say that I have proper petitions attached to the front of them with at least three signatures, which is all that is required, just to make them perfectly legal so these people get their views heard.

I will read the prayer of the petition: To the hon. House of Assembly of Newfoundland in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of Newfoundland and Labrador; that

WHEREAS we the undersigned reject the government's proposal Adjusting the Course to restructure the education system of this Province; and

WHEREAS we support the churches in their voice on our behalf to maintain our denominational education system; and

WHEREAS we are people concerned about the well being of the whole child;

WHEREFORE your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to maintain our denominational education system; And as in duty bound your petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Speaker, that is a pretty clear, straightforward message on behalf of these 251 residents of the District of St. Barbe in the communities of Hawke's Bay, Port au Choix and Port Saunders and perhaps other areas. These are similar to petitions we presented in the House all last fall when the House was sitting. At that time the government wasn't prepared to budge one inch from their rigid, inflexible position dealing with educational reform. As much as we raised it in the House, pleaded with the minister to be a bit flexible, pleaded with him to listen to some suggestions that we had made, and others outside the House of Assembly had made, pleaded with the Premier to move the Minister of Education to one side and the Minister of Justice to one side, and bring in a third party to maybe help resolve this problem.

Lo and behold, that suggestion was dismissed. The reason that suggestion was made was because those two ministers are the most arrogant ministers you would ever want trying to deal with an issue as prominent and important as this.

So, Mr. Speaker, I give the government credit - I did it yesterday in my question to the Minister of Education - they finally realized the error of their ways. They knew they weren't going to get anywhere with these changes without having to go through a lengthy and costly court battle undoubtedly. Finally they brought in Phil Warren or somebody brought in Phil Warren, he offered them his services along with Dennis Browne, a good Grand Falls lawyer and somehow or another they were able to convince the Premier - I doubt if they convinced the minister but they convinced the Premier - to put forward some alternative suggestions which showed some flexibility and I give the government credit for it. I hope now that the minister, in his new-found flexibility and this new era of co-operation being shown by the Minister of Education, I do hope and pray, along with these 251 petitioners, that a resolve will be found to this problem so that we can get on with making the very important and necessary reforms to the educational system, which needs reform without question, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

MR. SIMMS: I ask the minister to listen to the prayer of those petitioners.

MR. SPEAKER: Is that end of petitions?

AN HON. MEMBER: No, the Member for (inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Nobody was on his or her feet.

Order, please!

I believe the hon. the Member for Bellevue has a separate petition. Does the hon. the Opposition House Leader wish to be heard in this petition? Because the hon. member was on his feet first. I'll recognize the hon. the Member for Bellevue, in that case.

MR. BARRETT: Mr. Speaker, I was waiting because I thought there might be somebody who was going to support the petition by the hon. the Opposition Leader.

Today it gives me great pleasure to stand in this House to present a petition on behalf of 2,267 constituents of that great district of Bellevue. In addition to that, I have a petition signed by 230 residents of the district of Placentia in the community of Southern Harbour. I have already made my good friend and the hon. the Member for Placentia aware of it, and I think they will probably speak in this petition afterwards. I'm not trying to play politics with this particular petition - it's a very, very serious issue.

I guess it really comes home to you when you have people in your own immediate family - at this present moment, as I present this petition, I have one in my immediate family who was discharged last week from the Clarenville hospital, a chronic care patient, who is home and the family is unable to look after him. When we talk about all the excess beds in this Province, it makes me wonder sometimes if the advice that this government is getting, in terms of health care, is very accurate.

Since I've been elected, over the last five years, a lot of time was spent and devoted trying to intercede, trying to assist elderly citizens of the district who are trying to get into chronic care facilities. They may be disproportionately placed around the Province. I think, as a government, we are going to have to take things under control and assess the situation, because when you look at the number of people in Little Harbour, Chance Cove to Winter Brook, Port Blandford and all that area, we have a great number of elderly citizens who need chronic care.

Every year, probably twice a year, I go and visit my constituents who are in the Harbour Lodge in Carbonear and they're spread all around the Province. People from Arnold's Cove, Sunnyside, Come By Chance, Swift Current, North Harbour and all these communities, small communities, are up-rooted from their families and they're either moved into St. John's, Bonavista or Carbonear. I must say that the Lions Manor in Placentia also has a lot of senior citizens from my district. But they don't seem to mind going to the Lions Manor because they can look out and see that `far greater bay' and they love the scenery in Placentia. If there were a chronic care facility in that immediate area, even in the Trinity Bay area, the residents of the great Trinity Bay could look out over the bay and see the area where they lived, fished and worked hard all their lives.

Five years ago, in the district of Bellevue when I was elected, we had very little services for senior citizens. Over the last five years, we have seniors' cottages in Whitbourne, Norman's Cove and Arnold's Cove. Just recently there was opened a thirty-bed personal care home in Arnold's Cove. All of these facilities have been provided over the last four or five years. I make it very clear and very strong that the Member for Trinity North and the Member for Terra Nova, with the assistance of the Member for Placentia, will be lobbying this government strong and hard to see that we have proper chronic care facilities in the region that we represent. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Placentia.

MR. CAREEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am indeed delighted to be able to stand here in support of such a petition. I also thank my friend opposite, the Member for Bellevue, who was kind enough to make me aware of it, because it is something that affects us all.

A society is judged by its compassion. I do support the petition on the thousands of people it is affecting. We look around wherever we live, but what we are talking about now is the Clarenville area, and the numbers of seniors, the people who need extra care, those who have given their all over the years and who are being transported all over God's farm in order to have some accommodation, someone to look after them towards the end of their days.

I can talk about the advantage that the Lion's Manor Nursing Home gave our region, and people from other districts, in its catchment area. While it was close enough for them to go to they had something in common. The man next door to them or in the next bed might be a stranger but he had something in common with that person - or the woman who had been transferred - and had something in common with someone there. It wasn't like they were isolated and on the moon. They were living with people of their own lifestyle.

It has been a great boon to our region, the Lion's Manor Nursing Home, and I know what it would mean to the people of Clarenville and its environs, what such a complex would do in that area. The senior citizens would be closer, their families would be closer, and our population - you look at it now. Most of our young ones are gone and our seniors' averages are increasing. I have no hesitation at all anytime from this day on to help the members opposite in their quest to get the chronic care nursing home facility in the Clarenville area. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, while we recognize the need, we also have to be responsible in the request. The hon. the Member for Placentia - in his district we are presently building on the nursing home there in order to consolidate the total services in the Placentia area. I don't know if he is proposing that we would cease work in Placentia in order to build a nursing home in Clarenville. Is that what he is proposing?

MR. TOBIN: No, that is not what he is proposing.

DR. KITCHEN: Is that what he is proposing?

MR. TOBIN: No!

DR. KITCHEN: Because I tell you, Mr. Speaker, there is a limited amount to our budget. It is very easy to get up on your hind legs and say: I support the expenditure of public funds. It is very easy to say that.

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

DR. KITCHEN: What he is -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

A point of order, the hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I don't want to take away from the hon. member's time, but there is such a thing known in this House as decency. When the Member for Placentia stood to support a petition from the people of the Clarenville area, he did it with a great deal of sincerity for the wishes of the people of Clarenville. He did not do it at the expense of the facility in Placentia. That was not the intention. That was sincere support for the people of Clarenville, and the minister should not be getting on with that kind of nonsense. If he doesn't want the Member for Placentia to support the people of Clarenville -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: - say so. Have the guts to say so, never mind hiding behind what you are doing.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

There is no point of order. I don't need to hear the hon. the Government House Leader.

The hon. the Minister of Health.

DR. KITCHEN: Mr. Speaker, the average cost to operate a bed in a nursing home in this Province is $65,000 per year. Now, we don't have a lot of $65,000, so what we have to do is to try to give the best possible care we can with the money we have. Every time we build a new nursing home - and it is not a chronic care institution we are talking about, we are talking about a nursing home for people who are very sick and who need total care in a facility that they can't get in their own home. That is what we are talking about, nursing homes, not chronic care facilities. That is a broad thing because chronic care facilities would also include things like personal care homes, boarding houses, and things of that nature. We are talking here about a nursing home, a $65,000 per year to operate nursing home.

We have to make sure that the type of care we provide to our citizens can be done within our budget. As I said before, what we have to do - our priorities are clear - the officials recognize that there is a need in the Clarenville area and there are needs in other places as well. We do know that the Nycum study of 1986 is somewhat obsolete because it was based largely on the number of people over sixty-five, and we know that the health of people over sixty-five now is better than it was years ago. It is getting better all the time, as people live longer and stay healthier at older ages, so we are thinking that a better formula would be to look at the numbers of people who are over seventy-five and get a fraction of those.

Some of these old studies are not that reliable and they don't guide us as much as they should. Now, I don't want to say that there is no need in the Clarenville area because there obviously is a need, but what we have to do is to see if we can meet that need in a variety of other ways. I believe once we get this regional community health care operating in the eastern region, which should be before too long, we will be able to take care of more people in that area in their own homes, than we do now, with the help of properly trained people who will go and help them in their homes, and that will relieve the pressure on nursing homes.

Then, we are transforming other nearby nursing homes in areas like Bonavista, St. Lawrence, Grand Bank, and Placentia, so that they can take into account higher levels of care than they presently do. We don't look necessarily at the only solution being to build a $65,000 a bed nursing home in every vicinity. We just can't afford to do it. The Province can't afford to do that. We have to be very careful with our funds, because if we spend our money in that fashion, we may very well have to close the hospital in Placentia, the one in Clarenville, or the one somewhere else.

You can't spend your money one way and have it left over to spend on something else. That is the essential fact that has escaped the Opposition over there, who are forever saying, spend more money.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SULLIVAN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland on a point of order.

MR. SULLIVAN: The minister stated that a nursing home bed in this Province costs $65,000 per year. Now, estimates given by your department to me last year indicated there were 2,360 beds utilized in this Province at a cost of $82.289 million for an average of less than $35,000, so would the minister confirm if it is now up to $65,000 a bed this year?

MR. SPEAKER: Really, there is not a point of order. The hon. member is using the point of order to ask a question. If the hon. minister so wishes he can respond to it, but there is really no point of order.

The hon. the Member for Grand Bank.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I rise today to present two petitions. I am going to present them together because they pertain to the same issue, and they are all from residents of the district of Grand Bank, the communities of St. Lawrence, Lawn, and Little St. Lawrence. There are 785 names on the larger petition and 97 on the smaller petition, and it is interesting to note that of the 97, they are all students of Holy Name of Mary Academy in Lawn.

MR. BAKER: You can do at least ten separate ones.

MR. W. MATTHEWS: I don't do that, I say to the Minister of Finance.

Now, the 785 names, Mr. Speaker, as I said, are residents of Little St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence and Lawn.

The prayer of the petition is: To the hon. House of Assembly in legislative session convened, the petition of the undersigned residents of the district of Grand Bank that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador cease in their efforts to dismantle denominational education and the right to denominational schools be maintained; Wherefore your petitioners humbly pray that your hon. House may be pleased to request the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to take such action as quickly as possible.

This is a similar petition to what I presented a few days ago on behalf of constituents. I'm very pleased to present the petition and to support the petition. It is an issue that is uppermost in the minds of those people whose petition I tabled on Thursday of last week, I think it was, and now again today. It is a big issue in those communities, that particular area of the Burin Peninsula, in my district. It is obvious from the number of people who have signed the petition and have asked me under signature from their parish priest, Father Doughy, to present the petition on their behalf. I'm very pleased to do it.

As I said the last day, I'm encouraged by the statement given by the minister a few days ago, from which it looks as if some progress has been made between government and the churches in trying to bring a resolution to the very contentious issue of educational reform in this Province. I don't think there is anyone who is opposed to educational reform but, of course, as we know, the churches want to maintain their rights, and particularly, in this case, that denominational education and the right to denominational schools be maintained.

I just hope that the government and the churches will come to an agreement, will reach a consensus on this. I think, as I said before, that the Minister of Education, I believe it was yesterday, said that flexibility was a hallmark of this government. Well, to date they haven't demonstrated this. I just hope now, that in this very important issue that will affect the lives of thousands of young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, the government will indeed be flexible, and that hopefully, as a result of the further discussions between the government and the church leaders, a resolution will be found for the betterment of education and the betterment of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Terra Nova.

MS. YOUNG: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to speak to the petition presented on behalf of the hon. member opposite. As an educator, I taught in an integrated school system. At the school where I taught, a number of Roman Catholic students were bused in from one of our smaller communities. I must say that there were never any problems experienced in that school as a result of the integration that took place outside of the integrated system as we knew it.

As a matter of fact, I think it was very beneficial to all of the students who attended that school. I speak in praise of our government's initiatives in restructuring the education system. I think that the foremost goal for all of us should be to provide the best education possible for our Newfoundland students so they can go out into the global marketplace and meet the demands that will be put upon them as our future adults.

I also want to say that I'm pleased that there is flexibility on this side of the House, and that government and church leaders have certainly moved closer to reaching an agreement so that we can go forward with our plan to educate our Newfoundland students. I am totally supportive of the government's initiatives in that direction.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, representing the Burin Peninsula and knowing the people of Lawn, St. Lawrence, and Little St. Lawrence as I do, I want to say to all members of this House, that when these people take up names and ask to have them presented, one can be assured that it is done with a great deal of sincerity and for very genuine reasons on their part.

We all want to believe as I'm sure the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn and Little St. Lawrence believe, that there is room for certain changes within the education system. But what the petitioners are asking is that government stop its dogmatic approach to destroying the education system as it is now, the way the people want it. That is what is happening, I say to the member.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, that when it comes to standing up in this House, I don't take a back seat to him, I can tell him that. As a matter of fact, he would be hitting his head off the back benches if he hadn't given up his seat to the Premier, because his incompetence, would not allow -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Unless the Premier had an (inaudible) his incompetence would not allow him to sit in the front benches.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, Mr. Speaker, if he were to go to Lawn in St. Lawrence or Little St. Lawrence and laugh at the petitioners on that, make fun of what they are requesting in this House, he would be in for a rude awakening if he ever tried that tactic in one of those communities and, we might not let the people in that area know as to how silly he treats the petition, I say to the member.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: The people of St. Lawrence, Little St. Lawrence and Lawn, Mr. Speaker, are genuine and very sincere in their request to the Member for Grand Bank. And I say to the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture, knowing St. Lawrence and Lawn the way I do, that minister would be well advised not to smirk and laugh at the people in those communities. The Member for Terra Nova stands up and supports government's initiative and she is delighted to see that government is flexible. Well, I say, Mr. Speaker, it was a great day for flexibility when Dr. Phil Warren, a man for whom I have a lot of respect, was brought in to try to solve this issue.

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I always respected Dr. Warren and I can tell the minister that I never had any respect for his ability as a minister. I can tell him that up front, that I have never had any respect in his competence as a minister.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please! Order, please!

I remind the hon. member that he is on a petition.

MR. SULLIVAN: Time up, is it?

MR. SPEAKER: No, the hon. member's time is not up; I just remind the hon. member that he is speaking to a petition and he should keep his remarks relevant to the petition.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for that and I apologize for being distracted but I can tell you that when someone like the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture laughs at the sincerity of the people of St. Lawrence and Lawn, then I have to react.

Mr. Speaker, when Dr. Phil Warren, the other day, and someone else, got involved in trying to bring some sense to this government in terms of putting together a program and a package that would be acceptable to the churches and the government, then they are to be commended. I always felt, by the way, and sincerely believe that if Dr. Warren had been still around as the Minister of Education, we would never have gotten involved in this impasse between government and churches. But that was not to be and I am grateful and I think Newfoundlanders should -

MR. FLIGHT: On whom are you blaming it?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am blaming it on the Minister of Education, the Premier and some of the incompetent ministers who sit around the Cabinet table such as the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. They are the ones I am blaming for this mess. But Dr. Warren and another St. John's lawyer, I am not sure of the name, got involved, and now hopefully, hopefully, Mr. Speaker, the churches and government will be able to work out something that is satisfactory to all of the people.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I move that pursuant to Standing Order 21, the Orders of the Day now be read.

MR. SPEAKER: It is moved by the hon. the Government House Leader that we move to Orders of the Day.

Motion carried.

Orders of the Day

MR. SPEAKER (L. Snow): The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, let us go on to Order No. 4, which is the second reading of the Electrical Power Control Act. I believe my friend, the Member for Grand Bank was beginning to get to the substance - I am sorry, I apologize to the people of Grand Bank. My friend, the Member for Burin - Placentia West was getting to the meat of his speech. I think he was about ten minutes into it and we were getting along quite nicely. I understand the floor is his.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, on Bill 2, the adjourned debate. The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, neither the people of Grand Bank nor Burin - Placentia West needs the hon. minister to apologize to them, I can tell him that.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I was involved in some discussions on Bill 2 - and I think I have approximately twenty minutes left - "An Act to Regulate the Electrical Power Resources of Newfoundland and Labrador".

MR. MURPHY: (Inaudible) five points.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I have five points, I say to the Member for St. John's South - I have them here. Mr. Speaker, is there any way to get the Minister of Forestry - Mr. Speaker, he's after saying more, yapping across the House today, then he has spoken in the past session as a minister.

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of very important issues that I want to raise regarding the Electrical Power Resources Act. As I said yesterday, there are certain parts of this bill, Mr. Speaker, Bill 2, that we don't have a great deal of difficulty with. The problem that we have is, why government has decided to put into this bill five areas or five parts that deal specifically with the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. Because one has to look back, Mr. Speaker, on what the Premier said in the Leaders' Debate on March 24, which is very important. He said, `When we considered this legislation first' - meaning the Electrical Power Resources Act - `we weren't thinking about privatizing Hydro, we were thinking about doing it with Hydro as a Crown corporation.' Now, if the Premier, back on March 24, was thinking about it with Hydro as a Crown corporation, then why did he change his mind? Why did he bring into the privatization act, Mr. Speaker, issues dealing with the -

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: I ask the minister, in all sincerity, why doesn't he have the courage to stand up and speak on it? Why doesn't he really say something? You know, what you have here is - you have the pulp and paper industry in this Province that's going to be brought into this, Mr. Speaker. Have we heard one squeak from the minister? Have we heard one squeak or one sound from the minister regarding what could happen to Bowater or to Kruger as a result of this bill? not a murmur, Mr. Speaker. All you've heard from Mr. Squeaker is a squeal, but then you have to understand what the minister is responsible for and you can relate a squeak to the hon. minister. That's what you've heard, a squeak from the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: No, a squeal. Well, you know what he's minister for, the abattoir - I won't say it, no I can't say it. And the minister knows full well that there is potential fall-out for both Bowaters and Kruger but when someone gets $15 million -

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible) phoned the manager and said (inaudible).

MR. SIMMS: That's not true. I called up and asked him if he had any concerns about it and do you know what? They do have concerns but you won't admit it.

MR. TOBIN: They do have very serious concerns but I say to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of Forestry has not expressed the concerns.

MR. FLIGHT: What are the concerns?

MR. TOBIN: What are the concerns? We know what the concerns are -

MR. SIMMS: It is going to financially affect your assets, that's the concern they have.

MR. TOBIN: Sure, it is. Would you mortgage your house, Mr. Speaker, with no one to back - and try to sell it? Is someone going to buy a house knowing the bank can take it back on you? What about $15 million?

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible).

AN HON. MEMBER: Under this bill, under this piece of legislation, the right to call back a power that could close down Bowaters.

MR. SIMMS: Why are their lawyers looking at it?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, that's another point. Why are the lawyers for these companies checking it out, I ask the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. We haven't had the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture stand up. All we have heard is snipe from the sidelines, like a coward, like someone who has no focus, like someone who has no responsibility and, in true fashion, incompetent. That is the problem with the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. He will sit there and snipe all day. Stand up and pick it up for the men and women who are employed with Bowaters. Stand up and pick it up for the men and women who are employed with Kruger, instead of sniping.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Display your incompetence publicly.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. SIMMS: He doesn't know what he is talking about anyway. The Minister of Forestry doesn't know.

MR. TOBIN: The Minister of Forestry is in the front benches for one reason, because he resigned his seat for the Premier to run, not because of his competence as a minister. We all know that, and the Province knows that.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I ask the hon. member to keep his remarks relevant to this bill.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I am doing very much so because what I am doing is pointing out the negative effect that this can have on the pulp and paper industry in this Province, and the fact that the minister responsible hasn't spoken. That is what I am saying, and I think it is very relative to the bill.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Why don't you stand up now, when I sit down, and explain it to us, if you are the only one who understands it. Have the courage to stand on your feet.

MR. SIMMS: I bet you he won't.

MR. TOBIN: No, I bet -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Show us why you're getting $120,000 a year. Stand up and show the people of this Province why you're getting $120,000 a year. Get up and tell us. I will ask a good question. Which section of the act, by the way, deals with that as it relates to the pulp and paper industry? Which section?

MR. FLIGHT: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Aha. Which section of the act? That's a very easy question. Which section of the act?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has only recognized the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West. All other members should be listening to the hon. member.

MR. TOBIN: That's right, should be listening.

Mr. Speaker, that is what we heard from the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture. When we go back to March 24, the Premier said, and I will repeat it again: When we were considering this legislation, meaning the Electrical Power Resources Act, first we weren't thinking about privatizing Hydro. We were thinking of doing it with Hydro as a Crown corporation.

Well, if Hydro is a Crown corporation, and he wasn't thinking about doing it when he brought in the Electrical Power Resources Act, then why did he include five sections that deal specifically with the privatization in water resources - the Electrical Resources Act. What it does that ties in directly with the privatization of Hydro is that it instructs the Public Utilities Board to base electricity rates on three criteria: cost, maintenance of credit worthiness, and a guaranteed profit for shareholders. What does that have to do with the bill?

Second, it directs the Public Utilities Board to phase out the portion of the rural subsidies charged to industrial customers by the end of 1999 in order to cushion the impact of privatization and the cost of electricity to major industries in this Province.

Number three; transfers responsibility for the designation of essential employees from the Labour Relations Board to the Public Utilities Board.

Number four; it empowers the Public Utilities Board to approve ownership of more than 20 per cent of shares of the electrical utility, which paves the way for the eventual merger between a privatized Hydro and Newfoundland Power. That is what is happening, Mr. Speaker. What does the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture have to say about that, I wonder.

You heard the Premier getting on -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, what does that have to do with what I'm saying?

You heard the Premier get up and say: No one is allowed to have more than 20 per cent of shares in the privatized Hydro. Yet he brings in Bill No. 2. What does he do? Approves more than 20 per cent shares. I know the Paul Desmarais of the world are not rubbing their hands. Power Corporation. The meetings that have taken place.

AN HON. MEMBER: In Ottawa.

MR. TOBIN: In Ottawa. I wouldn't expect the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture to know anything about that when he doesn't know anything about forestry.

The fifth one, Mr. Speaker, is the refund of federal taxes paid by utilities and rebated to the Province under PUITTA. We all know that these five issues that I've just mentioned are linked directly to the privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and we will never support any privatization of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro. The people of this Province know. They do not want to pay higher electricity rates. Why should the rate payers in this Province have to pay higher rates for electricity to pay the shareholders from outside this Province?

Another very interesting question that I would like to raise. The Premier has acknowledged that there will be an increase in electricity rates. The Premier himself has stated that there will definitely be an increase in electricity rates. I would like to know how much money the government now spends to pay light bills and electricity rates in this Province. How much do they pay Light and Power, for example, for the light bills and the heat bills on this building? How much do they pay for the other buildings? For all of the University campus and the Cabot Institute and the Marine Institute?

MR. EFFORD: Who built this monstrosity?

MR. TOBIN: How much do they pay - what?

MR. EFFORD: Who built this monstrosity?

MR. TOBIN: How much do they pay, Mr. Speaker -

MS. VERGE: For the highway in Corner Brook? That was John Efford.

MR. EFFORD: This monstrosity of $8 million.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm talking about the light bills. Probably the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation might know offhand, probably he doesn't, and I wouldn't expect him to, if he does -

How much is the light bill for government? Just look at the Confederation Building, or all of the buildings, all of the schools, the Arts and Culture centres that they are responsible for, how much money -

MR. SULLIVAN: Schools. Schools.

MR. TOBIN: - schools, hospitals. How much money does government pay for light bills? Number one. Then, Mr. Speaker, when you factor in the increase that it is going to cost the taxpayers through the government paying higher light bills it will be in the millions. Probably the profits that the Premier is talking about making off of Hydro will be lost. That is a very valid argument. How much money it now costs the government totally in light bills for the schools, the hospitals, the clinics, the government buildings throughout this Province. How much money do they really pay to Newfoundland Light and Power?

MR. SULLIVAN: It is up in the tens of millions.

MR. TOBIN: Then when you factor in the increase that is going to come as a result -

MR. WOODFORD: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: Twelve percent of whatever it is is automatic, right. Twelve percent of whatever it is. Do you know, Mr. Speaker -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. TOBIN: Do you know that when you factor in that 12 per cent I would suspect - let me put it this way. I would like to know the difference between what the Premier is going to say he is now going to save through a privatized Hydro and what -

MR. SULLIVAN: Sure we are giving up $10 million in guarantee fees.

MR. TOBIN: This is just on the increase in government's own light bills. The increase in government's own light bills as a privatized Hydro. I'd like to know how many tens of millions of dollars it's going to cost? I'd say to the Member for St. John's South, it's a lot of dollars.

MR. SULLIVAN: Sure they can't do a cost analysis on hospital boards, they'll never get one done on this.

MR. TOBIN: I'd say it's a lot of dollars. Maybe, Mr. Speaker, we should be more cautious, more careful but I can tell you that it's going to cost an awful lot of money.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the Minister of Finance - if I could get his attention for a minute - I wonder if I could have his attention for a minute?

MR. BAKER: You always have my attention.

MR. TOBIN: Well I'll ask the Minister of Finance if he could tell me, Mr. Speaker, if he has any idea how much money the government now pays to Newfoundland Light and Power for the consumption of electricity in all of the government buildings; in the schools, hospitals, arts and culture centres and all of that? I'm wondering how much money would it be that the government pays to Newfoundland Light and Power if all of their expenses were factored in? Now granted, they rent some spaces throughout Newfoundland where the light bills are included, I would suspect, but that would be factored into what the rent charges are and -

MR. BAKER: About the same as the greenhouse was paying, I'd say.

MR. SULLIVAN: If it is, it's too much.

MR. TOBIN: I'm serious now.

MR. SULLIVAN: Any increase is too much.

MR. TOBIN: I'm serious when I ask the Minister of Finance that question.

MR. BAKER: I don't know the amount but it's a lot of money.

MR. TOBIN: I would say it's a lot of money if you were to factor in everything that the government pays for electricity bills in this Province, to all of the medical clinics, social services offices, transportation offices. If you look at the depots for the Department of Transportation - hundreds of millions, I'd say to the Minister of Finance. I'd ask the Minister of Finance, would he do a cost analysis on how much the increase will be?

MR. BAKER: About 4 per cent.

MR. TOBIN: About 4 per cent when you privatize Hydro?

MR. BAKER: At the end of five years, yes.

MR. TOBIN: 4 per cent.

MR. SULLIVAN: You said 11 per cent -

MR. TOBIN: Okay wait now, he says 4 per cent. So you add 4 per cent on to what it's now costing - to what the light bill now costs the government and I'd say you're into tens of millions of dollars more.

MR. BAKER: That's the cost of privatization.

MR. TOBIN: Not just the cost of privatization, it will do a lot more. The Member for St. John's North may want to have that number when he meets his constituents tomorrow night, to tell them that. How much money is it going to cost?

MR. SULLIVAN: That's every year during the life of that.

MR. TOBIN: I know it is every year during the life of it. What?

MR. L. MATTHEWS: Tomorrow night is the party. I just want you to know that Thursday night is the night of the meeting not Wednesday night.

MR. TOBIN: Well I would suggest to the member that I agree wholeheartedly and I support him having his party before the meeting because after the meeting he might not be in the mood to party.

Mr. Speaker, look where he's to now, up there cracking away again.

Anyway, this government, Mr. Speaker, is selling out rural Newfoundland on this Hydro bill and I'd say to members opposite that it is time to get your wits about you, it is time to stand up for the men and women of this Province that sent you here to represent them, it is time to take a decisive stand, it is time that you followed the lead of the Member for Pleasantville, it is time that you put your constituents ahead of your own political aspirations, it is time that you forget about that lonely, looming Cabinet post, Mr. Speaker, you can't all go into Cabinet. There's a possibility that there may be a couple of openings. There's a possibility that there may be a couple of Cabinet openings. There's no doubt that the Minister of Forestry is going to get the fling and he should. Mr. Speaker, that's right, it is time gentlemen please. It is time because I can tell members opposite that if you vote for the privatizing of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, that the people of this Province will not forget, come the next election.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time is up.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, in conclusion -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Does the hon. member have leave?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: By leave.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: No leave.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. E. BYRNE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Six weeks ago the government introduced two pieces of legislation - one called the Electrical Power Resources Act, which we are debating here today, which would also replace the current Electrical Power Control Act, and the other, the Hydro Privatization Act.

Briefly stated, Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the Electrical Power Resources Act is to provide for the supply and management of all power produced in this Province, including Churchill Falls power, and to meet energy needs of customers in the Province, and I quote: at the lowest possible cost.

Part II of the act sets out the Province's strategy to recall power now sold to Hydro Quebec under the Churchill Falls power contract. While there is no explicit reference to the contract, the act clearly targets that that power, or the power that now flows to Quebec, as a main source of supply for the Province's future energy needs. The legislation, in my opinion, is certain to be challenged by Quebec, and will inevitably end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, capturing some or all of the power locked up in the Churchill Falls power contract has been central to the economic energy and political policies of Newfoundland governments since the Smallwood era. Under the contract, the Churchill Falls Labrador Corporation agreed to supply virtually all of the 5,225 megawatts of power produced on the Upper Churchill to Hydro Quebec at an agreed price until 2041. Newfoundland can recall only 300 megawatts to meet its energy needs - a virtually worthless option, since it is less than half the power needed to warrant the cost of building a transmission line to the Island.

Through the 1970s the Newfoundland governments followed a partial access strategy, attempting unsuccessfully to recall more power than was provided in the power contract. In the Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act, for instance, of 1980, the Peckford government at the time departed from the partial access approach and bid for total acquisition of the Upper Churchill power development. Had the legislation survived the courts, Newfoundland would have been in a position to negotiate a new deal with Hydro Quebec that would have provided both increased revenues to the Province and access to low cost power to meet its future energy needs.

The Supreme Court of Canada declared the Reversion Act unconstitutional in 1984. The court ruled that it interfered with the right of Hydro Quebec, under the power contract, to receive an agreed amount of power at an agreed price. Since the power contract is subject to Quebec law and Quebec courts, Quebec Hydro's rights under the contract were situated in Quebec and therefore were outside the jurisdiction and competence of the Newfoundland Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, the Electrical Power Resources Act returns to the partial access policy of the 1970s, but with a slightly different strategy. Previous governments used the front door - that is, legislation and Orders in Council aimed directly at gaining access to Upper Churchill power. The Premier proposes to use the back door - that is, legislation of general application, and orders issued by a quasi arm's length agency, the Public Utilities Board.

Part II of the Electrical Power Resources Act empowers the Public Utilities Board, at the request of Cabinet, or an electrical utility, to issue an order to CF(L)Co, or another producer of electricity, requiring the company to deliver a specified amount of power for consumption within the Province, regardless - and this is an important point - regardless of whether or not it makes the company unable to meet its obligations to Hydro Quebec under the power contract.

Mr. Speaker, this is not a new idea. Mr. Cyril Greene, a senior lawyer in the Justice Department drafted similar legislation in 1980. Mr. Greene advised that his draft would be enacted without proclamation and referred to the court to determine its constitutionality. The Peckford Government opted instead for a total acquisition policy. In 1986, Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland Power asked the provincial government to enact legislation drafted by their legal adviser then, Mr. Clyde Wells, and based on a strategy to access Churchill Falls power similar to that proposed by Mr. Greene. The strategy Mr. Wells drafted in 1986 in my opinion, is reproduced, Mr. Speaker, in the Electrical Power Resources Act.

In 1986, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Wells was director of Newfoundland Power as well as its legal adviser, and had been appointed by the board to chair a committee on future power supply. The committee was instructed and I quote, Mr. Speaker: to specifically consider any legislative changes which would give the company greater flexibility in the construction of new generating facilities and the acquisition, Mr. Speaker, the acquisition, of power generated by others at existing facilities.

Mr. Wells report to the board of directors provides intriguing insight I say, Mr. Speaker, into his larger visions for the company he was soon to serve as chairman of the board of directors. In addition to recommending enactment of the legislation he had drafted, his committee advised and I quote again, Mr. Speaker: that it would be appropriate for the company to become more attuned to the potential for greater participation in energy development. If Hydro does not initiate a Labradorian infeed, it could present an opportunity for the company to provide capital through the acquisition of Hydro assets on the Island. Alternatively he said, the company may wish to participate directly in new Labrador developments.

Now, Mr. Speaker, there is an uncanny correlation between the corporate vision of then director and future chairman of Newfoundland Power and the actions of the Premier today; and, Mr. Speaker, let us look at the legal issues. They are very, very important issues. Will Premier Wells's backdoor strategies succeed where all other efforts have failed? That is the central question to this piece of legislation. He, obviously, is confident that it will. Other lawyers have a different opinion.

The Peckford Cabinet referred Mr. Wells' 1986 draft of the legislation to a team of lawyers. In their opinion, the legislation would be challenged and would meet the same fate in the Supreme Court, Mr. Speaker, as the Reversion Act. Several lawyers who have commented publicly on the legislation in its present form, have expressed, Mr. Speaker, similar, legal opinions.

Now the Premier makes three points in defence of his position that the Electrical Power Resources Act would survive a court challenge, even though the Upper Churchill Water Rights Reversion Act did not. First, the Premier says, the Province has the constitutional jurisdiction to manage and provide for the use, sale and distribution of power generated within the Province in order, Mr. Speaker, to meet the legitimate needs of consumers of power in the Province. Second, Mr. Speaker, the legislation has general application to all power produced in the Province and to all contracts for the supply of power. Any effect on Hydro Quebec's right under the power contract would be purely incidental to the main purpose of the act. He has stated that time and time again, Mr. Speaker; and third, control over all the hydroelectric assets of the Province is essential he has said, to meet the needs of the people in the Province.

No one, Mr. Speaker, and I repeat, no one, including the Premier can presume what the Supreme Court would do; nobody. The constitutional jurisdiction of the Legislature in this Province, is not absolute, Mr. Speaker. In the water rights reversion case, the Supreme Court did not quarrel, Mr. Speaker, at Newfoundland's right to manage the supply of power within provincial boundaries but issued the following warning: Where however, the pith and substance of the provincial legislation is elimination of extra provincial rights, then, even if it is cloaked in the proper constitutional form, Mr. Speaker, the Supreme Court said it will be ultra vires.

There is no doubt that the Electrical Power Resources Act will have extra-territorial effects from the moment it is enacted. In the opinion accompanying the legislation the Premier drafted himself in 1986 he wrote this: Hydro Quebec would no longer have the absolute priority to the power that it now has by virtue of the power contract. Like every other power producer or purchaser its existing priority would, where necessary, be subordinated to the satisfaction of the overall needs of the Province.

In other words, as soon as the Electrical Power Resources Act comes into force Hydro Quebec's right to receive power according to the terms of the power contract will be effectively destroyed. The Premier knows this, his Cabinet knows this, his caucus knows this. They are playing a dangerous game. They are rolling the dice. Unfortunately Hydro Quebec is not like every other producer or purchaser. The Minister of Finance knows this. It has extra-territorial rights under a power contract that is subject to Quebec law and Quebec courts. Even well-intentioned legislation that takes away from those rights is certain to be challenged by Quebec and would inevitable come before the Supreme Court of Canada.

The key question for the Court would be whether the effect on Hydro Quebec's rates is incidental, or the main purpose of the act, its pith and substance. The Electrical Power Resources Act is cleverly drafted, I would say, to apply generally to all producers and purchases of power, but the Court will know, I submit here today, that the Upper Churchill is the only source from which the Province could recall power. It will also know that the act terminates Hydro Quebec's absolute right to receive any power under the power contract.

A number of questions arise from this. Will those facts persuade the Court that the legislation is unconstitutional, despite its constitutional form? Because in substance it is aimed at the rights of Hydro Quebec under the power contract. What about the arguments that access to power generated at Churchill Falls is essential to meet the energy needs of the Province? The Premier says, and I quote again: It would be unthinkable that the people of this Province would have to provide for their future power needs through higher cost and polluting oil-fired generation, or accept the cost and risk of nuclear power generation.

I submit here that he should have thought about that when he sat in the Smallwood Cabinet and gave away the Upper Churchill. The exact same argument was made and rejected in the reversion act. The Court said - and let me quote again -

AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, oh!

MR. E. BYRNE: I am right, I say to the Member for St. John's South. The Court said: It is not for this Court to consider the desirability of legislation from a social or economic perspective where a constitutional issue is raised. Let me repeat it so members opposite may understand: It is not for this Court to consider the desirability of legislation from a social or economic perspective where a constitutional issue is raised.

Mr. Speaker, even if the legislation gets through the constitutional hoops the Court would have to determine whether we truly needed the power and how much. That is the question. The Court would have to determine whether we truly needed the power on the one hand and how much do we really need. How great a recall can we truly justify? These are questions that have not been answered. This is the issue in the Electrical Power Resources Act. How great a recall can we justify and convince the Court that we truly need it?

Would contracts for power have to be in place? A question that has been unanswered, a question that the Premier has refused to answer and that his government has refused to answer. Another important question: Would financing have to be in place for a transmission line to the Island?

Can we convince the court that there is no reasonable alternative to Upper Churchill power? Can we convince the court to allow a recall of power from the Upper Churchill when there is abundant undeveloped, albeit higher cost, power on the Lower Churchill? Would the court set aside Hydro Quebec's rights under the power contract simply, Mr. Speaker, to provide cheaper power to Newfoundland? What are the legitimate needs anyway? These are the questions that the court would have to determine, the court would have to answer. These are questions that must be answered in this Legislature and in the public debate on the very, very, important issue, but those answers have not been forthcoming.

There are many other problems associated with this issue as well, Mr. Speaker, and there are many risks inherent in the Premier's and the government's strategy. First, let me say this, any interference with the power contract may lead to an event of default. If such an event occurs Hydro Quebec is obliged under the power contract to provide the funds to redeem CF(L)Co's bonds. They are obliged to do that, Mr. Speaker, and in exchange for that Hydro Quebec would acquire additional equity and eventual control of CF(L)Co.

Second, there is the problem of financing a Labrador infeed. It is very, very, questionable that the federal government would guarantee the necessary financing, and the Province could not raise funds unless other factors intervened to improve our credit rating.

Third, another protracted and long drawn-out court battle with Quebec over the Upper Churchill power contract will certainly impede and may end whatever opportunity remains to conclude agreements with Hydro Quebec in relation to the Upper Churchill and development of the Lower Churchill. That is a very important issue.

In 1990, Mr. Speaker, we were told that government was very close to an agreement that met all the Province's objectives, including access to 800 megawatts of power at Upper Churchill rates and access to further blocks of power to meet future provincial needs. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador must carefully weigh the benefits, must carefully weigh the benefits, of uncertain access to Upper Churchill power against an agreement for development of the Lower Churchill power and side agreements on the Upper Churchill. That would guarantee access to low cost energy and return billions of dollars in economic benefits and revenue to this Province.

Mr. Speaker, it does not seem to me that the Premier has yet solved the problems associated or inherent in the Upper Churchill contract, and he may lose an opportunity for the development of the Lower Churchill that could be a model of what the Upper Churchill development should have been. That is what is at risk here. That is what I see as being at risk here.

Has the Premier given up on Lower Churchill so that he can test his long-held legal theory, or expunge from his memory his association with the infamous give away of Upper Churchill? Let us hope not. The Premier was not elected by the people of this Province to practice either law or absolution from the 8th floor of the Confederation Building. He was elected to get on with the development of the Province in the best interest of the people of this Province, and aspects of this bill, and Bill No. 1, in my opinion are not pursuant to those objectives. They are not in the interest of the people of this Province.

In his Province-wide TV address on March 22 Premier Wells tried to link his strategy to recall power from the Upper Churchill to the privatization of Hydro. At that time he claimed that seeking access to Churchill Falls power would be more susceptible to court challenge if it were done by Hydro as a Crown corporation.

Mr. Speaker, it is too bad the Premier did not see Crown ownership of Hydro as a problem when he first proposed the power recall strategy to Newfoundland Power in 1986. That was two years after the Supreme Court's proceedings on the Reversion Act in which he had participated as a lawyer for Royal Trust. Mr. Speaker, he was more than aware of all legal arguments and the rationale for the court's decision.

The legislation he wrote in 1986 names the Hydro Corporation or a retailer, and Cabinet as the agents who could properly make a request to the Public Utilities Board. In a legal opinion appended to the draft legislation he wrote the following. This is very important, to note what the then director of Newfoundland and Labrador Power, now Premier, said at that time:

To carry out such a purpose, the Public Utilities Board would have to be given power to investigate and hold hearings, either on its own motion, upon reference by the government, or upon application of Hydro, a power distribution district, Newfoundland Light and Power Company Limited, or any other retailer upon any matter affecting the current or future supply and delivery of power to the Province.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, virtually any agency directly or indirectly involved in the energy business could do it. That was his argument; that was his rationale put forward, but in his report to Newfoundland Power's Board of Directors, Premier Wells, then Mr. Wells, anticipated the deed would be done by the Crown-owned Hydro - the opportunity he saw for Newfoundland Power to buy the assets on the Island that Hydro would have to sell to raise capital for the Labrador infeed. Mr. Speaker, neither was Crown ownership of Hydro a problem just a year or two ago when the government began work on the Electrical Power Resources Act.

During the party leaders' debate on March 24, Premier Wells said, and I quote again: When we considered this legislation first, we weren't thinking about privatizing Hydro. We were thinking of doing it with Hydro as a Crown corporation.

That calls into question, why move towards privatization at all? The notion that an action by Hydro would be suspect is also inconsistent with the Electrical Power Resources Act. Members opposite should know, or anybody who has read this legislation and Bill No. 2 should know, or understand, that under the act a producer, retailer, the Public Utilities Board itself, or the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, may initiate action by the Public Utilities Board.

If an action initiated by Hydro would pose such risks that Hydro must be removed from any association with government, then clearly an action started by Cabinet will be so calamitous that Mr. Wells, or Premier Wells, would have expunged all possibility of it happening from the act.

Finally, as the Premier pointed out, in legal opinion appended to the legislation he drafted in 1996, when he said again, and I quote again for members opposite: The only legal issue arising from the proposal is the question of whether or not it is within the constitutional authority of the Legislature of the Province of Newfoundland.

That was his own legal opinion written in 1986. That, indeed, is the question I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, and it has nothing to do with who owns Hydro.

Mr. Wells, or Premier Wells' insinuation that an action by Hydro to recall Churchill Falls power would be more suspect than an action by a private utility, the Public Utilities Board, or Cabinet, simply has no merit. It is just a desperate effort, I submit, to lower support for privatization by tapping into the public's flickering hope that someone, somewhere, will find a way to obtain even a small share of the benefits locked up in the Churchill Falls power contract. There is, however, a connection between the Electrical Power Resources Act, Bill No. 2, and the Privatization Act, Bill No. 1. It is impossible to speak about one bill without referring to the other.

The Electrical Power Resources Act declares that it is to be the policy of the Province - and this is very important - it declares that it should be the policy of the Province that all sources of power and electrical utilities should be managed and operated in a manner that would result in power being delivered to consumers in the Province at the lowest and I repeat, lowest possible cost consistent with reliable service. The privatization of Hydro, Mr. Speaker, would contravene that policy. Even the government admits that under private ownership, Hydro would have to raise an additional $25 million a year in revenues from electrical customers in this Province. Our own analysis, supported by economists and experts in the energy field, Mr. Speaker, estimates the cost will be at least twice as much. We may continue to disagree on the real cost of privatization to electrical consumers, Mr. Speaker, but the undisputed fact remains that they will pay more for electricity without receiving any additional value.

A second undisputed fact, Mr. Speaker, that's worth noting, is that the government will give tax concessions and subsidies to electrical utilities to keep the cost of electricity from soaring even higher. In effect, the consumers will be forced to subsidize their own electrical rates with their own tax dollars. Have you ever heard of it? Because of the tax concessions, Mr. Speaker, the Province will lose $20 million a year in revenue it now collects, and another $20 million a year in revenues it will get from the Federal Government after Hydro is privatized. In addition, the Province will spend $15 million over the next five years to phase out the rural electrical subsidy paid by major industries in the Province and after 1999 the full cost of subsidy will be transferred to domestic customers and smaller businesses.

No one, Mr. Speaker, can dispute those facts. Electrical customers in the Province will pay more for electricity. They will pay more, as taxpayers, to subsidize the cost of electricity they consume and they will not receive any added value for the added costs. There is one reason for higher costs, Mr. Speaker, the privatization of Hydro. There is one way to prevent it from happening - keep Hydro as a Crown corporation. If Hydro is privatized it will be an absolute contradiction of government's policy declared in the Electrical Power Resources Act to manage and operate electrical utilities to deliver power to consumers at the lowest possible cost.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in part 1 of this bill, the Electrical Power Resources Act, there are privatization measures in there. Even though the privatization of Hydro flies in the face of energy policies, the government has inserted five measures into the act that intend to make Hydro more attractive to private investors, disguise the real cost of privatization by disbursing it to ratepayers and taxpayers, and pave the way for a merger between a privatized Hydro and Newfoundland Power. These measures, Mr. Speaker, are in addition to many other costly devices in the unwanted and unneeded privatization act. They include, number one, instruct the Public Utilities Board to base electrical rates on three criteria; cost, maintenance of creditworthiness and a guaranteed profit for shareholders; two, direct the Public Utilities Board to phase out the portion of the rural subsidy charged to industrial customers by the end of 1999 in order to cushion the impact of privatization on the cost of electricity to major industries in the Province; thirdly, transfer responsibility for the designation of essential employees from the Labour Relations Board, on the one hand, where they properly belong, to the Public Utilities Board, where they do not belong; four, empower - and this is very important - the Public Utilities Board to approve ownership of more than 20 per cent of the shares of an electrical utility, which paves the way for the eventual merger between privatized Hydro and Newfoundland Power; finally, number five, refund federal taxes paid by utilities and rebate it to the Province under PUITTA.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Newfoundland do not want to pay higher electricity rates and higher taxes simply to make profits for out-of-Province shareholders. They have heard and read the government's explanations, propaganda and rejected them all because they do not and never will make sense. There is no hysteria, as the Premier claims, Mr. Speaker. People are more and better informed on this issue than they have been on any other issue since Confederation. They know the privatization of Hydro is wrong for them, wrong for their children and wrong for future generations of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. Try as he may, Mr. Speaker, the Premier cannot and will not convince people that wrong is right.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that during the party leaders' debate on March 24, Premier Wells made a commitment to the people of the Province that he must now honour. He said, and I quote: If the majority of the people of the Province, in the end, are opposed to Hydro, I would not ask the members of the Legislature to proceed with legislation privatizing Hydro. To proceed with legislation, because I don't think any government, no matter how strongly it feels about an issue, should use its majority in a Legislature to cause something to be done that is contrary to the wishes of the people of this Province, and I won't ask the members of the Legislature to do that. That is what he said.

Faced with the overwhelming and irreversible opposition of the people to the privatization of Hydro, the Premier must be true to his word. He must withdraw the legislation that so deeply offends the people of this Province - the privatization act and the privatization measures contained in the Electrical Power Resources Act. The people and their elected representatives, Mr. Speaker, can then consider the Electrical Power Resources Act on its own merits. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay.

MR. SHELLEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am glad to be able to rise today and make a few comments on this particular part of the bill.

As many said before me as we stood, I say at the outset, the three parts of Bill No. 2, as we look through it - and we do look openly at it, although we have been contradicted from the other side of not doing that, but we do, I say to all members.

Parts I, II and III are the three main ones that I would like to speak to here today.

Part I, as most other members already indicated, is linked directly to the privatization. Part II, just in general terms I would say, and the recall of power, is something we can also expound on. Part III basically deals with the emergency planning aspect of the bill. And Part III let me say quite frankly and openly, is one of the parts of the bill that we do support. As hon. members have said before me, as we go through the entire bill and look at the different parts and aspects, then there are parts that we could support.

Just referring back to the Province-wide address that the Premier gave, first of all, in paragraph five of that particular address he said: I have to confess that government did not take sufficient time or make an adequate effort to explain to the public the economic and financial benefits of privatization before proceeding with this legislation. Generally speaking, this government has not spent money to advertise and promote its policy positions.

Mr. Speaker, as I read that today, since that time, since the Premier stated that on television in a province-wide address, there has been money spent. Of course, the argument has always been put forward, as it deals with the privatization part of this bill, that maybe people were misled. And, both sides, inside and outside the House, people have said: Maybe people have been misled and misinformed. Again, as the Premier stood today I was - I'm not surprised anymore when the Premier stands and says: No, we are going full steam ahead. I'm going full steam ahead. We haven't come off our tracks at all, no matter if it is 80 per cent or 90 per cent or if it 100 per cent opposed to this.

But the Premier said: `This government has not spent money to advertize and promote its policy positions. We thought the legislation would speak for itself and be widely supported, as the public clearly supported privatization in general. In this case, it appears clear that we ought to have taken the time and spent the money to make the case for the government's proposal before lack of information and misinformation could cause the proposal to be greatly misunderstood by a significant portion of our citizens.'

He goes on to say a little bit further down: `I want this evening to take the opportunity to spell out the full story.' Now, Mr. Speaker, as soon as I read that part of the Premier's address, and as I watched him that night I could hardly believe what I was hearing. What was the Premier saying? Was the Premier saying that in fact he had not been telling Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the full story? Then to add insult to injury, we move on and the Premier would say, I ask my Cabinet and my caucus to be quiet. There is no other way to have said it. Basically, what he has said is that members of his Cabinet and government caucus members should be quiet and not say anything about it.

Then he says we have misled. Just a little while back I referred to the money spent. He said maybe we should have spent money. Now, since that time, as we all know, Mr. Speaker, money has been spent, quite a bit of money has been spent on propaganda towards the privatization of Hydro, the advertisements we hear on the radio, the gloss brochures that come in the mail. I say to all hon. members that I believe government has had a chance by now.

If the Premier or any government members, anyone, can show us that there has been a change - is there is anybody who can show us that there has been a change? I say to all hon. members opposite, all of you, besides the fact that maybe the protest has died out a little bit somewhat and we are not wearing our buttons anymore, and all this foolishness, besides that fact it does get drawn out, and I say to members it does lull you, and I do want to get on with other issues. I am sure the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation wants to get on with other issues, we all do.

People in my district say to me: I wish they would get on with this Hydro, decide what they are going to do and get on with other business. I agree with all members, I think, and concur with that. The whole idea of bringing up the six-month hoist was to delay it another little bit.

I want to refer to one question that the hon. Member for Pleasantville brought up. I just made a note of it here. Has enough information been provided? That is why I relate to what we have just heard about the propaganda and the advertising that went on. The Member for Pleasantville asked in one of his questions, has enough information been provided? Very simply it says, no, people want more information because they cannot see how it is a good deal on the basis of what they have been told so far. They presume there must be better reasons which have not been properly explained. Maybe another way to put that, Mr. Speaker, is that people have not been told the truth from the beginning. Now, not to even say it that harshly, I will even backtrack on that a little bit, maybe we have not been told the whole story.

The bottom line is that the story has not been told from the beginning to the end. What has happened is that the Premier has given us the first paragraph, the opening introduction. He did not give us that very good because when we asked way back, in our rookie days as MHAs, way back when the House first opened, I remember sitting here in my chair and watching the Premier and the Minister of Mines and Energy stand up and say: it is all rumour. I do not know what the Opposition are talking about. They are trying to stir up something again, Mr. Speaker.

I remember hearing the Premier saying it. Maybe he should go back and look through Hansard, and I am sure that other hon. members heard it. As a matter of fact I can remember him beating the desk on the other side when he stood up and said: that is just a rumour. I do not know what the Opposition is bringing up. Then lo and behold just a short month, or a month and a half later, we find out about all the work that has been going on behind the scenes. We find out how the Rothschilds were involved. We find out how the big law firms up in Toronto were involved.

Now, Mr. Speaker, at the same time, if that is not an untruth, or misleading, I do not know what is. We asked point blank a straightforward question, was Hydro privatization being considered? Then, of course, the Premier and other hon. members stood in their places and said, no, it is just rumour. Then the Premier and other hon. members, the lot from the other side, have said time and time again, Mr. Speaker, that we have misled, and that people are misinformed.

Mr. Speaker, from what has gone on so far with the amount of money that has been spent, I say the government side has had the best opportunity to educate the people. If it was the real truth they wanted to come out, and the whole story they wanted to come out -

AN HON. MEMBER: They were well educated one year ago.

MR. SHELLEY: And I say to the hon. member they will be re-educated again. There are a lot of people returning to university these days.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: This is the anniversary I say to the hon. member.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: The hon. member likes to twist words a little bit. I said, some of the pension heavies may come back to attempt another one, but I say to the hon. members in the back benches, as I said before, when it comes to the privatization of this Hydro, this issue, I say to the members in the back benches, who aspire to be long-time politicians, if you think this is a tough issue, and you've got to follow the leader on this one, you wait until the other ones hit. You wait until you hit interdenominational education, and the public sectors, and god knows what else the leader has planned, because I am sure you don't know, because you didn't know anything about Hydro.

You wait until the gallery fills up, and when you have to stand in your place again. Somebody will have to back up and say: Hold on, Premier. Sooner or later we are going to have to vote with our constituents, we are going to have to go along with our constituents. Who is going to have the guts, I wonder, to stand up and be able to say that? To say: Premier, we have had enough, boy. We would like to support you, but for once we are going to have to go with the wishes of our constituents, the people who elected us.

That is what they are going to do, but I am wondering who is going to be the member, besides the Member for Pleasantville, who will stand in his place and say: I am sorry, Mr. Premier, I have had enough. I would love to support you again. I would like to tow that heavy line, but I can't do it any more.

As we saw with the Member for St. John's North, the pressure was put on. He was under the thumb, and he decided: Yes, Sir, I am going to have that meeting.

Now I say to the hon. Member for St. John's North, I have to applaud him, but it's too bad I have to applaud him under such circumstances that he had to be pressured into it by people who put him here one year ago today. It is time for an anniversary, a time for a celebration over there, when all hon. members -

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: It is a good day for the hon. members opposite to remember this day a year ago, and certainly applaud yourself, as we all do applaud ourselves for being elected - fifty-two of us in this House of Assembly - and I am so proud.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Eighteen minutes after I was declared elected. I felt pretty good about that.

Mr. Speaker, I can say to the hon. members, I was so proud a year ago to be elected, and like all hon. members in this House should be so proud that they were elected, chosen by people - that is the key here. I didn't forget, when the time came to make a decision to listen to the people who elected me, and to go out and speak their minds for them as they put forward their arguments on this privatization. I listened to the people who elected me, and I say on this anniversary date, especially for some of the first-time members, and also for the veterans opposite, I say it is a good day to mark a reflection, to reflect back and remember that you were elected by the people - not elected by the leader.

You weren't elected by the heavy pension members in the front. You were elected by your constituents, and if there is still anybody opposite who really believes, who can honestly stand up in this House and really believe that there are not 80 per cent opposed, that there are not 60 per cent opposed... If there is any hon. member over there who really can stand in their place, with all honesty, straight-faced, no winks or smiles, anybody over there, can stand in this House on their anniversary of being elected by people, stand in this House on this day and say: I don't believe that the people are opposed to Hydro, and if they do believe that, can they stand up and say: I am sorry Mr. Premier. I am sorry leader. I support you in most things - and you can still do that, but can you support him on this?

Referring to the act again, one of the common criticisms of this particular bill on the privatization, is it really a quick fix? Are we really talking about trying to get ourselves through tough economic times? Nobody denies that. We are in very tough economic times, but are we really talking about a quick fix? Is that what we are looking at?

That is what the Premier said on many occasions, where he stood in this House and admitted that the amount of money that would be taken in on this deal the first two years would benefit and help us over the next few years in our budget.

I can see why the Premier would want to pursue that, because it is obvious from the Budgets that have been brought down these last few years, they have been off line terribly; and yes, we do admit to the economic crisis, Mr. Speaker, there is not a member in this House who wouldn't agree with that, but the real question that has to be asked and what a lot of the people across this Province are asking is: is the quick fix of this sale of Hydro worth that? Was it worth it with the Churchill Falls disaster that we are still paying for these days, Mr. Speaker? Are we still going to make that same mistake of the short-term fix, and can anybody, when they have their chance today, Mr. Speaker, I ask them to stand, and please assure the people in your district that this is not indeed a quick fix, that this is something that is going to be for the long-term future, the long-term viability of this Province, Mr. Speaker.

If any hon. member on this particular day, on their anniversary, that's what people are concerned about, you all should admit to that, Mr. Speaker, the members on the opposite side could agree with that, that a lot of people walk up to you and say these days, Mr. Speaker, is this Hydro deal good for the long term? Can you tell me that it is going to be okay five years from now or ten years from now?

Now Part 2 of the act deals with the recall of power from Hydro and I am wondering, first when I heard the Premier make his address and referred to the recall of the Part 2 in this particular act which would deal basically with the recall of power from Churchill, the first thing that flashed through my mind is, after two attempts by the Moores Administration and then by the Peckford Administration, by two attempts in the Supreme Court, seven to nothing, each time it was brought forward, but I wonder, I wonder -

MR. MURPHY: Now tell why.

MR. SHELLEY: I wonder why the Premier would even consider to drag this Province and everybody with it on a gamble, on a chance that for some reason that this Premier can change the minds of the seven Supreme Court judges. What would he do differently, Mr. Speaker, that is going to drag us through a long, long legal battle which the Premier seems to love, I say to the hon. members. The Premier sees this when he can grab on to this pet lawyer trial that he would like to run into, it seems like constitution or anything to do with the law, the Premier likes to delve into these opportunities because that's his pet peeve.

But you have to ask yourself, Mr. Speaker, are we ready to go with the Premier on this one, to drag us through another two or three or four years of Supreme Court, to finally get to another decision, maybe it will be six to one this time. Maybe it will be five to two or four to three; even that close or four to three but is it going to get any closer, Mr. Speaker? Let's talk reality here, are we going to get any closer, are we just wasting our time again through a long battle, long, legal battle with the illustrious Premier here and his pet peeve, are we going to go through this whole thing again, at whose expense, Mr. Speaker? That's the question we have to ask. Seven to nothing in the Supreme Court on two attempts, Mr. Speaker, not one but we have seven to nothing and five to two, you don't have to worry about me, Mr. Speaker, at least I will still be in provincial politics, but I say, Mr. Speaker, that's the question that Newfoundlanders and Labradorians ask. Are we going to go through another long, drawn out court battle with our leader? I would love to have a vote in Baie Verte tonight and you ask the people in my district what they think about this.

They keep saying to me and I am sure it has been said in many other districts, I say to the hon. minister, time and time again - Listen here, if the Premier is so sure about this, he is pretty smart, if the Premier is so sure about this, Mr. Speaker, why is he in a big rush? Is he so smart? Maybe he thought he was too quick on this one. It was described by somebody to me as a short fix and he said he gave the introductory paragraph and that was fixing, because he didn't tell the truth in the beginning; he said he wasn't even considering privatizing Hydro, then he missed the middle part of the book and gave us the ending. Then he came back after he read the book and said: by the way, this is what happened in the middle of the story and that is exactly what happened here, Mr. Speaker.

As you read the Premier's address here, on provincewide TV, the Premier basically apologized to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador by saying: I'm sorry that we didn't tell you the whole truth but we didn't want to stir up your emotions. Well what was the Premier really saying? Was the Premier really saying: we didn't want to tell all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians the whole story because they wouldn't be smart enough to understand it? Well I think he sold them short, Mr. Speaker. I think what has happened here is that it's come back to roost on the Premier. It came back to roost on the Premier. He didn't have the trust in the Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to explain the full story, afraid they wouldn't understand it.

Well I say to the Premier today, as we stand here today - and the money was spent since he made the statement on his provincewide address, the money was spent. The government side did have their chance, Mr. Speaker. They did have their chance to stand up on provincewide TV on a half-an-hour debate - cried because he only had fifteen minutes on NTV. Then they had a debate otherwise with the hon. Leader of the Opposition and the hon. the NDP and time and time again, Mr. Speaker, the Premier would say: you've been misled, you've been misinformed. We didn't have the gloss brochures; we didn't have the half hour on CBC.

He said: The Opposition are doing all of the misinforming, misleading. In all these groups that you see outside, you know what? The Opposition has orchestrated all of this. Well, Mr. Speaker, I can tell you in no uncertain terms - I can tell all hon. members in no uncertain terms, with sincerity and honesty, that I - and I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I speak for all hon. members over here, they did not have one bit of influence whatsoever or orchestrated in any way, the Power Of The People, Take Back The Power, the Mr. Halley who was in the lobby the other day on a protest, Mr. Speaker, the Greg Malone, who I still don't understand to this day - I still don't understand that. I said to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation before, I don't know where Mr. Malone came from on this. He started up, picked it up - I don't know what his politics are -

MR. EFFORD: Wherever he came from he should go back.

MR. SHELLEY: Well I think that's a very unkind thing to say, I say to the Minister of Works, Services and Transportation. I've talked to Mr. Malone now on several occasions since he's attempted this and I can say that the man speaks with sincerity and intelligence. He has investigated and studied this proposal and I say to all hon. members that I believe he had an open mind to it in the beginning. Then after weighing out the pros and cons - and he didn't come out at the very first, initially and say he opposed this, neither did Take Back The Power say that immediately.

These groups, Mr. Speaker, like Mr. Halley, who only just recently came out in opposition to it and said that there were twenty more lawyers that he has talked to. Twenty other lawyers - if you put credibility in lawyers - that so many people seem to. Mr. Halley came out and said twenty other lawyers, Mr. Speaker, are they not credible either? Now I can see sometimes if some of the hon. members said that the open line shows - you know the Bas Show, the Bill Rowe Show and so on -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, and the infamous speech from the Minister of Forestry and Agriculture in Gander last year - maybe some time he will get the opportunity to stand up and repeat that. Maybe he will have the gall to stand in his place, Mr. Speaker, to speak and repeat that - I won't repeat what he said at the convention but maybe the minister will stand -

MS. VERGE: (Inaudible) is because of the Upper Churchill.

MR. SHELLEY: Seventeen years, he said, I spent in the political wilderness because of the Upper Churchill. Well I say, Mr. Speaker, he's going to spend another three years -

AN HON. MEMBER: The minister speaks the truth.

MR. SHELLEY: He said seventeen years in the political wilderness because of the Upper Churchill. Well I can say to the minister you'll be spending three more years in the outback of the political wilderness if you continue to support this particular proposal.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) make that speech.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SHELLEY: Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker. I'll have my speech I'll guarantee the hon. member.

We'll see what hon. members will stand in their place three years from now or maybe even sooner. We will see how quickly the hon. members, Mr. Speaker, stand in their places during the next election three years from now, maybe even sooner - we will see how many of them stand on their stages when they have their rallies and say: I supported the privatization of Hydro. We will see how many stand in their places and brag about the privatization of Hydro.

As I look across the House of Assembly today and just try to flash ahead a little bit, I wonder, three years from now when the writ is dropped and the election is called, how many of them will be trying to - hopefully everyone will have forgotten the privatization of Hydro. But I say to all hon. members, they will have a monthly reminder, a steady increase of electricity rates in this Province. Every day they will be reminded, and it will be like what happened to our cousins in Ottawa who were reminded when they didn't listen to the people, I say to all hon. members. They will remember.

MS. VERGE: Only two of them left.

MR. SHELLEY: I will be proud to stand, three years from now, on my stage at my public rally for when I'm going to be re-elected and say: I didn't support the privatization of Hydro. I would love to be challenged in a debate when an election comes up in my district, by whoever will have the guts to run for the Liberal Party in that district.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Don't you worry about that.

MR. SHELLEY: Send someone out, I say, Mr. Speaker. I hope he is better than the last one. I would love the challenge. As a matter of fact, I won't wait for him to challenge me - to stand in their place and be proud on the day of the election when they say: I supported the privatization of Hydro.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Harold Small (inaudible)!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SHELLEY: Yes, I can imagine. I hope he comes back, Mr. Speaker.

We will see when the writ is dropped in three years, or even less than three years from now, I say to all hon. members. I think the time is going to be coming sooner than they think over there. I think they might be forced into - then all of a sudden there is a jump up for the leadership, because I'm sure the way the Premier is headed now, they will have a big scramble. The knives will be coming out on the other side. I can see the gleam in their eyes over there now, and the leadership is on. Three years - `Our first strategy,' they will be saying in the back rooms, `is: How are we going to disassociate ourselves from Premier Wells and the infamous privatization of Hydro?' That is what they will be saying. `How can we change our face, how can we disassociate ourselves from this Premier?' the Premier who is long gone. He will probably be in the Fraser Institute, or God knows, wherever else he speaks these days, in Queen's University or talking on the Constitution, but he won't be here. All hon. members will be getting up one by one and saying: Well, our Premier is gone, we have a new face on the party, we have new ideas.' But they won't be fooled, not this time. Because these issues, this issue in particular, will come back to haunt this party, I can assure you as we stand here today.

MS. VERGE: It will never leave.

MR. SHELLEY: It will never leave you. Month by month it will come back to haunt you, and it will come back to roost on the day of the election.

You mark my words. Because I want it marked in this House of Assembly here today. As I said earlier, this is only the beginning of a continuous slide. Once you stop listening to the people, the slide starts and it is very hard to slow it down. That is why, when the hon. the Member for Pleasantville stood up that day in the House it almost gave you cold shivers to finally see it, to finally see somebody rise over there and really speak - and I have all the admiration in the world for somebody who speaks on behalf of his constituents, with heart and soul, speaks on behalf of his constituents and says: I'm sorry, Premier, I'm sorry, Cabinet - the fellows where they get all these perks from - I'm sorry, but I can't follow you this time, there are too many people in my district telling me that they don't agree with what you are doing.

I tell you, it is a great attribute to have as a politician, to be able to stand and have the guts - I tell you, I can bring it up and name some, but I don't think I will do it at this point, it would be too embarrassing. But I was really disappointed, very disappointed, to look down through the front benches here and a couple of - I won't mention them, just give a look every now and then, but there were a couple there, I really thought the day would come when they would stand up and say: Sorry, Premier, but I can't support you on this.

One of them happens to be smiling right now, but I thought he would be one of the ones to stand in this House and speak on behalf of his constituents - I really did. As a matter of fact, there are constituents of his I talked to who thought he would, too, who thought he would have the gumption and the gall to stand up and say -

MS. VERGE: Why didn't he call Rex Murphy?

MR. SHELLEY: (Inaudible) Rex Murphy? He was stuck on the question, Mr. Speaker. Boy, was he ever stuck that day. `I support the people of my district. I support the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,' that's what he said - `I support the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.'

Mr. Speaker, if there was one time for the hon. member to come forward and say: Yes, you're absolutely right. I have listened to you; I have listened to your concerns. The first poll might have been a fluke. The second one, maybe, but time after time again, from Open Line shows through to professional polls that were done -I say to the member - independent, professional polls were done.

Let's stop kidding ourselves. Those polls were legitimate. I can understand the members getting up and saying: Oh, the PC poll that was done - I could certainly understand them not believing the Member for St. John's North's poll. I can see that one. I can see you not believing our poll, but when it came time after time consistently -

I really was disappointed in some hon. members, especially one I referred to a little while ago, who didn't have the gumption and gall to stand up and say: Enough is enough. I have heard enough; I have seen enough. I listened to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and I am sorry, but I can't support you this time, Premier. I will support you in a lot of things - and you will - but I can't support you on this.

Just a last reminder, Mr. Speaker. I know I have just a minute to conclude, unless I get some `by leave'. Just a last reminder, that the fellows in the back benches - the last little reminder - you still have some time to think about it. It's not over; it's not done.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SHELLEY: I tell you, what a story it would be in The Evening Telegram! What a story on CBC! They would be sending in notes for the scrums, I tell you, Mr. Speaker. They would all be getting the scrum notes, saying: Come out. You have finally stood up against the dictatorship.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member's time has elapsed.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: No.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Eagle River.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I am pleased to rise in this debate today and have a few words. I was particularly forced to rise after that speech by the Member for Baie Verte - White Bay, because he ended off his speech by saying, `What a story'. He said that maybe the first poll was a fluke, maybe the second poll was a fluke, but I want to submit that one year ago today, May 3, 1993, it was no fluke! It was no fluke!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: I want to now try to recreate, maybe, what happened one year ago today. Eight o'clock or so, when the polls closed, CBC decision desk comes on, a few minutes - I think it was six or seven minutes into the broadcast, Rex Murphy said: `Well, there is something happening out there. It looks like it is close in Port de Grave today.' A little while afterwards, it started to change. Not long afterwards, they had the polls come in from St. John's Centre. All of a sudden they said: `Well, let's look at our percentages. Here we go to St. John's Centre' - 400 per cent over 1989, 400 per cent over the Member for St. John's Centre, re-elected.

Going on down through, over to the historic district, the President of Treasury Board, the fellow who was going to be nailed by every teacher in Newfoundland and Labrador, re-elected - 1,000 per cent; but not to be outdone, the Member for St. John's South, the member who got in here with one or two votes, now 8,000 per cent increase - re-elected!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: They made their way up around the Northeast Coast, and old Mr. Tilley said: It looks like the fog is lifted on Fogo, back again to the district - the hon. the Member for Fogo, re-elected for the fifth time!

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Member for Kilbride, on a point of order.

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that today we are debating the Electrical Power Resources Act, Bill 2.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. E. BYRNE: Mr. Speaker, I came here today prepared to talk about the Electrical Power Resources Act, which I did for half-an-hour. I have no control over other members but I submit to you that the Member for Eagle River, while entertaining, should confine his remarks to the Electrical Power Resources Act.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader, to the point of order.

MR. ROBERTS: To the point of order, the hon. gentleman would be well-advised to take his advice from his father-in-law instead of his colleagues. His father-in-law, who served in this House for a number of years, wouldn't be heard to get off with the kind of claptrap the hon. gentleman, not only got off with, but gets off with all the time. He is so filled with himself. He should remember Burns' verse - Give us the gift `to see ourselves as others see us.' The hon. gentleman, the Member for Eagle River is electrifying this House; he is controlling his electrical energy and it is a resource. The hon. gentleman, the Member for Eagle River, is a natural resource in his own right.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we have listened - this is a bill, an act to control the electrical power resource of this Province; the hon. the Member for Eagle River is a natural resource, an electrical resource and he is very much a resource of this Province. All he is doing, Mr. Speaker, if I may, is in his own way, with the support of all sides of the House, and the galleries are filled with people - he is expressing his support now. What he said, Mr. Speaker, in my submission, is just as relevant as anything that anybody on the other side has said. He is simply, in his own way, expressing his support, and we on this side, Mr. Speaker, suggest it is very much in order.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair is ready to rule on the point of order.

While the hon. Member for Eagle River may be giving an electrifying speech, I don't think it's covered under the Electrical Power Control Act, so I ask him to keep his remarks relevant to the bill.

MR. DUMARESQUE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the point that I was trying to make is that the Member for Kilbride got the biggest shock of his life a year ago today, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: His entry into politics was right up against a brick wall, Mr. Speaker.

What we are taking about here today is a piece of legislation that is put here by a responsible government elected by the people of this Province, led by a leader who has two majority governments behind him. We are proud to be here today to support this piece of legislation. I couldn't help it, I can't help it. After they made their way around the northeast coast and went up to Labrador. Three out of four gone to Labrador, Liberals back in three out of four. I couldn't help that.

We should be reminding people of that. We got elected as a responsible government to bring in legislation and I can't help it for what they did to the hon. members opposite.

MR. ROBERTS: We privatized a number of them.

MR. DUMARESQUE: We privatized. The Member for Terra Nova has gone back singing now. The Member for Fogo is back with the chalk all over his face, Mr. Speaker. That is the way it should be. Obviously the democratic process is allowed to work its way through and we are here now carrying on the mandate that the people have given us.

They gave us the right to come in here and bring forward legislation that had the full backing of the people and we are very confident that with all the facts being out there, with all the resources that are being there before the people and they have to make the responsible decision, that if they were in the Minister of Health's shoes for instance and had to say: Should I close down hospitals or should I take an asset that is worth so much money and be able to keep those hospitals open, they would say: You keep those hospitals open, Mr. Minister of Health.

They would look to the Minister of Education and they would say, like the people in Norman Bay who want that small school in Norman Bay: Should I close the school in Norman Bay or should I take an asset that is worth so much money, put it out there, and get the money to keep that school open? They would say: Keep that school open, Minister of Education, that is what you should do.

The Minister of Social Services over there who has a tremendous challenge now to try to meet the needs of people who through no fault of their own cannot get by. Are they telling us that we should now keep the Hydro, keep that tremendous resource over there, and close down every young boys' home or the custody units or not give them the social assistance? Is that what they are asking? Is that what they are saying? That they should put our seniors out of the chronic care facilities. Is that the kind of thing that they are saying? No.

Obviously what we've seen in this debate is nothing more than a real tirade now on all sides over there to try and see who is going to be in the Leader's chair in a couple of weeks. That is what it is all about. They are going out to Gander now this weekend. I know the knives are out.

I understand that they've sent out an invitation list to a number of people to make sure they will be there in case somebody happens to fall. I understand Bas got an invitation. I understand Greg Malone got an invitation. I understand Bill Vetter got an invitation and if all else fails they're going to say come on Mr. Warren, we'll take you because we don't know anybody else who's going to take it. Cyril Abery? Probably, yes, I think he got a gold plated invitation. They promised him a room with air conditioning, no cost to the taxpayer, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

AN HON. MEMBER: Charge it to Hydro! Charge it to Hydro!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Yes, if there's ever any reason to, it's only to flip it over to his old colleagues in Hydro. I'm sure they'd take care of it, Mr. Speaker. But here we have a situation today where we're not concerned about those kinds of games, Mr. Speaker, we are here to carry on the business of government, to do the responsible thing to keep this financial picture we are getting the accolades for.

The Minister of Finance, who has brought down successive budgets in a responsible fashion, is now being told by the marketplace to keep on going along this route, Mr. Speaker, because if you don't your credit rating will be altered. Now for months and months and months Malone after Bas, after Sue, after Vetter, after Simms, they were all saying, what foolishness, what hogwash. The sale of Hydro doesn't have any affect on the credit rating. Who are you trying to fool? We haven't got any impact on the credit rating. Only to find, a few days ago, that the person up in central Canada said that if you do not sell Hydro then your credit rating is going to be taken down. That's the facts, Mr. Speaker, that's the facts of the matter. That minister of Finance has been now doing the job in three years that it took seventeen years to try to put something in place, Mr. Speaker, and I know the -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DUMARESQUE: Well that's true. Yes, that's the same crowd. That's the same crowd, Mr. Speaker, that's the same crowd who said that there is no problem with your credit rating, borrow, borrow, borrow, debt, debt, debt. No problem, pickle factories, Mr. Speaker, (inaudible) no problem.

Mr. Speaker, it shouldn't be lost on the people of this Province. We had the Member for Burin - Placentia West up today talking about the cost of lights. Now here was the same fellow who sat in Cabinet and approved $7,000 a day for the big light in Mount Pearl - the same fellow. Now it shouldn't be lost on the people, Mr. Speaker, and neither was it lost. One year ago today they went to the polls for the second time and brought back a Liberal majority Government in Newfoundland and Labrador.

That is the truth of the matter.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: No way should we take any backwater to any of that, Mr. Speaker. The people of this Province and the people of Eagle River have put confidence in us to do the job. They know we have done our homework. They know we are maintaining our credit rating because we have done our homework and led with a responsible financial policy.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ten down and four to go.

MR. DUMARESQUE: It is almost as easy as the last election, Mr. Speaker. They have a couple of seasoned veterans over there. I notice there is neither button on them now. I suppose they are waiting for the new Vetter button, or the new Bas button.

AN HON. MEMBER: There has to be a better button.

MR. DUMARESQUE: A better button, I suppose. There has to be a better button now. Andy Wells, I guess got another special invitation hand delivered to him, coupled with a trip to Russia, if you would please come. A free trip to Russia, maybe, another training school or something like that. If we ever get back surely the taxpayers will take care of it for you, Andy, no problem.

Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of record that we have now established in this Province. The people of this Province have turned to us in no uncertain fashion. In the last elections they were telling us time and time again to continue with the policies in education, and continue with the policies in health care. The Canadian government now, Mr. Speaker, and indeed all provincial governments in this country, are looking to Newfoundland for the health care plans.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: They are looking to Newfoundland and Labrador for the educational reforms, Mr. Speaker. I was up in Ontario not too long ago and there is a very strong debate in Ontario. Up in Ontario they have the public system and now they have to check off so they can have the secular system. There is a raging debate up there now because it is not working. The duplication and everything else that we have here is starting to creep in their system and they do not like it. They are looking to Newfoundland and they are saying, way to go Newfoundland, you are doing it right, keep on doing the same thing.

We have no problem standing here supporting this particular piece of legislation. We are quite proud to be here as a government taking the historic step of trying to bring to the electrical services and the electrical industry of this Province what we have done in health care, what we have done in education, and what we are going to be doing with the Trans-Labrador Highway, and transportation in Labrador.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: Mr. Speaker, what we have seen is a government that builds a Province, a leader that leads strong, and gives the kind of leadership that gave us two majority governments, Mr. Speaker.

I could carry on, I would say, for another four hours if I had time.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. DUMARESQUE: I am not even going around Port aux Basques yet, up toward the West Coast, but I don't want to interfere with the order of business and ask all hon. members to push her past five. I don't want to do that today. I will be back tomorrow and we will talk more about this.

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: If the hon. member wishes to be back tomorrow, I take it he has adjourned debate.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. gentleman moved an adjournment debate. I am not sure it is carried. If Your Honour wants to put it, it may not carry, but assuming it has carried, Your Honour -

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: Assuming it has carried, before I move the adjournment of the House, tomorrow is Private Members' Day. My friend from St. George's, I understand, will return to be with us to speak to his resolution.

AN HON. MEMBER: He is out of the Province.

MR. ROBERTS: He is not out of the Province. He is in Stephenville, I understand.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: Oh. In any event, we will see what happens tomorrow.

I think the word should go forth from this time and place that my friend from Eagle River will be continuing on Thursday, so we will be sure to have a full turnout to get -

AN HON. MEMBER: Can't wait.

MR. ROBERTS: Well, the hon. gentleman can't wait, and I must say, he shows the marks of not having waited.

With that said, Your Honour, I move that the House adjourn until tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2:00 p.m.